Print 28 comment(s) - last by rrsurfer1.. on May 25 at 11:45 AM

IO2's Heliodisplay M2 in action
IO2 Technology introduces its second interactive floating screen

A few days ago, a relatively unknown company called IO2 Technology released the Heliodisplay M2 and M2i displays.  The M2 is unique in the fact that it creates a non-holographic image projected into mid-air.  Without a point of reference, the Heliodisplay appears to be 3D, giving the viewer the illusion of a floating holograph.  The two models announced today are capable of creating images approximately 30" across diagonally.

With drivers provided by IO2, the display plugs into a USB port and the screen interaction and display is handled all inside the unit.  Currently, the Heliodisplay can achieve SVGA resolutions (800x600) with resize support up to 1280x1024.  IO2 claims a contrast ratio of 2000:1, but since the technology is effectively rear projection onto a wave of hot air, direct sunlight or lots of ambient light will distort or wash out the image.

The touch sensitivity of the screen allows for users to interact with the display in real time, which can then be relayed to a computer or some other USB-ready device.  IO2 claims the device is perfect for everything from medical imaging to teleprompting to HUDs.  The projector is relatively bulky, weighing in at about 35lbs, but can be built into tables or walls to provide that true Minority Report feel. 

This is actually IO2 Technology's second mid-air display.  The M1 was significantly smaller than the M2 and significantly louder.  The M2 and M2i are rated at 38dbA, and uses about 350W during operation.  Pricing of the M2 and interactive M2i was not announced.

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Display no air
By proamerica on 5/17/2006 2:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
Awhile back I read about a sound technology that put the sound waves in sync so that they cancelled each other out, but at a certain, adjustable distance the sound waves went out of sync and became audible. Making is possible to send sound directly to a person standing in a group of people.

I wonder if similar techniques could be used for light?

RE: Display no air
By The Cheeba on 5/17/2006 3:44:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sound has very different properties than light. While light acts like a wave in some instances, it acts like a ray in others. Light is a photon, not a wave.

RE: Display no air
By Diesel Donkey on 5/17/2006 5:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying light is a wave or it isn't? Light exhibits particle-wave duality. The diffraction patterns observed by simply passing monochromatic light through a narrow slit (or multiple slits) attest to the fact that light waves/photons can and will interfere with each other just as the sound waves in the comment above do.

RE: Display no air
By rrsurfer1 on 5/18/2006 9:44:49 AM , Rating: 2
It is thought that photons display wavelike behavior, but there are some that beleive this wavelike behavior is only a manifestation of quantum particle theory. Science hasn't been able to prove it either way.

RE: Display no air
By saratoga on 5/20/2006 8:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? Wave-partical duality was proven a very long time ago. Do the diffraction slit experiement and see for yourself.

RE: Display no air
By rrsurfer1 on 5/25/2006 11:45:13 AM , Rating: 2
If you read about this you will see it is FAR from proven.

RE: Display no air
By stephenbrooks on 5/17/2006 6:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
I think the reason it's more difficult for light is that its wavelength is under a micron whereas the wavelength of sound is centimetres to metres.

RE: Display no air
By rrsurfer1 on 5/18/2006 9:46:26 AM , Rating: 2
That's what is thought. The problem is when sizes get so small conventional physics break down.

RE: Display no air
By saratoga on 5/20/2006 9:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
Physics does not breakdown trying to describe visable light. At least not 20th centary physics. You're think of Uncertainty, which is at the basis of modern optics.

By jskirwin on 5/17/2006 11:18:36 AM , Rating: 2
Is this for real? The link is just a press release.

How would this work?

Something would have to be reflecting the photons that we see.

RE: How?
By peternelson on 5/17/2006 12:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
I think it relies on the stream of hot air.

The hot air with the cold air next to it causes a refraction effect which bends the light towards the viewer.

A bit like inside a fiber optic cable, the light is bent near the edges of the cable to stay inside the cable.

I'd like something that instead uses a technique like a parabolic reflector mirror so the object appears to float in free space when it isn't there, without wasteful room heating.

I think this system may not operate optimally when used in say cold or hot or humid climates, it will probably work best at room temperature where the heat differential is what they designed it for.

RE: How?
By Scabies on 5/17/2006 12:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well, while freaking awesome, this isnt exactly "practical" yet. I'm sure the nerds that buy this before its mainstream and commercial have the cash to spend on making an environmentally controlled room.

I saw the picture and initial description, I was thinking they got the light to stop in mid-air, as opposed to reflecting off..air.....

Now, what does the backside of a 'projected' image look like? Backwards text, or does the image only bounce back in one direction? Viewing angle, anyone?

RE: How?
By Bladen on 5/17/2006 12:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think it has more to do with focus points than refraction.

Isn't there an old magicians trick or something using mirrors to project an image into the air like such? Or is that only on TV?

RE: How?
By peternelson on 5/17/2006 5:57:15 PM , Rating: 2

Yeah the parabolic mirrors are an alternative, but then they wouldn't need the hot air at all would they?

The thermal differential doesn't help a mirror based system so they must be using it for refracting the light.

RE: How?
By Scabies on 5/17/2006 12:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and it takes 720p... badness!

useless but geeky
By Visual on 5/17/2006 5:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
I remember when the first models were announced, the company suggested they could be useful as walk-through advertising at malls and other public areas. but even this new model isn't big enough.
They have no advantage to TFTs or projectors for presentations at all, except the coolness factor. I wonder what the pricing would be - if it's comparable to LCDs, I can see them selling well on :) I myself would consider buying it if it were priced under $1500...

Can anyone find some actual pricing info on this thing?

RE: useless but geeky
By nrb on 5/17/2006 7:11:24 AM , Rating: 2
TFTs and projectors don't produce a 3D image, nor are they touch-sensitive.

RE: useless but geeky
By nrb on 5/17/2006 7:18:04 AM , Rating: 2
Oops. :-) Actually, if you read the small-print, this isn't 3D either....

These projected images and video are two-dimensional space (i.e. planar) but appear 3D since there is no physical depth reference.

RE: useless but geeky
By fungry on 5/17/2006 9:41:28 AM , Rating: 2
not to mention, plasma/LCD screens can erm, display 3D images.
All you need is a specified LCD/plasma screen with a layer of 3D [whatever].

I've seen this 3D technology done in a mall before. In Bangkok, Thailand that is. Not very comfortable watching something at a mall... considering it appears to come out of the screen

Needs to be smaller
By peternelson on 5/17/2006 9:57:44 AM , Rating: 5
"Help me Obiwan, you're our only hope"

LOL still not small or light enough for my needs.

When it can fit inside a walking robot the size of a trash can, then I'll be interested ;-)

Its young and new
By HueyD on 5/17/2006 8:51:20 AM , Rating: 2
Its young and new. Give it time, if there is a market for this technology more companies will jump in and it will only get better.

RE: Its young and new
By covertbit on 5/17/2006 9:21:43 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I would say another 5-10 years and these will be used on just about everyone's computer. Think of the desk space! Even a LCD still takes up space and clutters it up with cables. If you can get this built into the walls or a desk, it would be pretty kick ass. I am interested in how much this is too.

This is really old news...
By Dfere on 5/17/2006 1:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
I saw this used by the talking head on the power rangers 15 years ago. Does this thing have sound too? If so, when are the zoids due out?

RE: This is really old news...
By Scabies on 5/17/2006 2:17:50 PM , Rating: 2
"Zoron is dying!!"

By miahallen on 5/17/2006 4:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
Neat stuff! Can't wait to see and "touch" it.

Ok this is sexy
By vingamm on 5/17/2006 9:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it is nerdy but gosh dang-it I want one! I mean come on people it is more or less a holographic display. I have dreamed of owning one of these since I first saw the "charlie" episode of Star Trek TOS. Knock it all you want but this thing is cool. I am saving my pennies now.

Old Newz
By GrammatonJP on 5/17/2006 12:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
I saw this on Paychecks with Bennifer

I wonder..
By ZeeStorm on 5/17/2006 9:21:53 AM , Rating: 1
How hot this air really is? I assume it can't necessarily be too hot, or the room itself would have temperature changes. Interesting indeed though. I saw the videos of the first one, but I think the transparent OLED's also look pretty cool, and don't have the waviness like this does >:)

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