Dimension Technologies awarded $1,4 million Navy contract and NSF grant

Rochester 24 August 2007Dimension Technologies Inc. (DTI) has been awarded a $1.400.000 contract from the United States Navy for development of two compact Ultra High Definition (UHD) projector prototypes with an unprecedented native resolution of 4200 X 3150. These projectors will utilize lighting and electronics in a unique way to produce images delivering nine times more true resolution than the Texas Instruments Digital Light Processors (DLP) that are used to create them. DTI also has been awarded a contract from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the feasibility of applying DTI's patented Ultra High Definition display technology to head mounted virtual reality displays (HMD). The technology will allow the display of images with 5760 X 3240 resolution using current off the shelf microdisplays.

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The DTI projectors' extra resolution is created by operating the DLP microdisplays nine times faster than the usual 60 frames per second. Sub sections of each pixel are illuminated in sequence, creating an image made up of the sub sections instead of the whole pixels. This is the first commercial application of this innovative, DTI-patented technology.

The first demonstration of this breakthrough UHD projection technology is expected this year, with delivery to the Navy in early 2008. The contract allows DTI to ramp up production thereafter to meet anticipated military and commercial demand. The production units are expected to feature even higher resolution of 5760 X 3240, nine times the total resolution of standard HDTV displays in the United States.

Interest in such high resolution displays by government, military, and scientific and research organisations stems from the fact that development of digital cameras and sensor technology has far outpaced display technology in terms of resolution. Users of applications ranging from surveillance to satellite imaging to scientific visualization find that they can't see fine detail and the big picture simultaneously due to the limited resolution of current displays. Operators are forced to either constantly zoom in and out, or they must construct large, unwieldy, and expensive tiled video wall displays. Consumers may also benefit from the technology, as there is already strong interest in Japan in going well beyond HDTV resolution for television.

Representative Louise Slaughter, the Rochester-area representative to the United States House of Representatives, was instrumental in DTI getting this contract award. DTI's ultra high resolution technology was first demonstrated under a United States Naval Air contract in 2003, in which 2560 X 2048 resolution projected images were created using a 1280 X 1024 Liquid Crystal On Silicon display operating at four times its normal 60 fps rate.

The unprecendented resolution of DTI's patented Ultra High Definition display technology for HMDs will allow eye-limited resolution across a 96 degree X 54 degree field of view. This is the closest that any display has ever come to matching the acuity of the human vision system.

Head mounted systems have long been recognized as a potential low cost and compact alternative to room sized dome simulators or tiled flat panel display walls for a variety of applications like scientific visualization and military and commercial simulation. But the low resolution and small fields of view of commercially available head mounted displays have limited the acceptance of that technological approach.

The ability to display eye-limited resolution across a wide, immersive field of view at a cost and size far below that of alternative technologies will make head mounted virtual reality displays a viable alternative. In the future, as costs decrease, it is expected that consumer PC users, gamers and video iPod users will also be able to benefit from the technology.


Leslie Versweyveld

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