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3D mobile technology makes innovation real at HP Labs


Contributed by E.G.Nadhan, HP Distinguished Technologist. Nadhan is an active blogger on the HP Services Journey through Enterprise IT Sevices blog. He has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, has co-authored several books and is an astute observer of the services technology landscape.


Innovation is a regular phenomenon at HP Labs – I have discussed this in innovating the Planet by 2020, improving patient care in the Healthcare industry as well as flexible displays. So, it was no surprise to see the glasses-free, portable 3D display technology from HP Labs in the MIT Technology Review. However, innovation is not just about technical marvels – it becomes real when it improves our quality of life. This came up when I engaged in a discussion about innovation with my college-going niece, Kavita who was simply fascinated by this technology.


As an under-graduate in the field of commerce, Kavita brings an interesting non-technical perspective of the next generation of innovators.


We started with a baseline definition for innovation, which continued to evolve, based on her comments:


Definition One: Innovation is creativity applied


Rangoli Two.jpg“Not enough,” said Kavita. “For example, I can be creative every time I draw a decorative pattern,” said this winner of multiple art competitions. Innovation is also defined by a whole new thought that no one has ever come up with before.”


Definition Two: Innovation is creativity applied with differentiation


“It is not just about being different.” said Kavita. “Innovation must impact our quality of life. It disrupts how we think and act.”


Definition Three: Innovation is creativity applied that disrupts our quality of life for the better

“Getting there” quipped Kavita. “You cannot hire someone to innovate. Innovation happens because of your own passion.” She went on to say that there is no necessary structure to innovations, which are often accidental. Innovation must be the engine that keeps the enterprise humming continuously.

And thus, we landed up with a definition that best captured our thoughts so far:


Definition Four: Innovation is creativity applied with passion to disrupt our quality of life for the better


3d_displayx299.jpgFor example, the Holographic 3D for mobile technology from HP Labs.


A team of scientists, led by HP’s David Fattal, have created a new kind of 3D display for small screens that is both glasses-free and has a very wide viewing angle. The research abstract reads: “None of the leading multi-view 3D solutions is particularly well suited to mobile devices (watches, mobile phones or tablets), which require the combination of a thin, portable form factor, a high spatial resolution and a wide full-parallax view zone (for short viewing distance from potentially steep angles) … Here we introduce a multi-directional, diffractive backlight technology that permits the rendering of high-resolution, full-parallax 3D images in a very wide view zone (up to 180 degrees in principle) at an observation distance of up to a meter.”


What applications do you see for the 3D Mobile technology? Are they different? Are they totally new? Do they disrupt our lives for the better?


Better yet, what would the formula for innovation be from your perspective?


Also, what do you think of me reaching out to an undergraduate student of commerce to have a heart-to-heart discussion on this topic? Innovative? Please let me know. Meanwhile, let me check with Kavita.


Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.




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Kudo's for the discussion you had with your niece :-)! I think it's very important when applying anything innovative is to have it discussed and challenged by and with people all around not being in the same position. Their point of view will help always to gain different insights and will help to evolve the idea in itself


Thanks for your post, hadn't noticed it until now.


I agree that innovation is a rather chaotic  process that has to be fueled by a passion. The key to success is to channel one's creative energy towards a concrete goal and share the passion to make it contagious Smiley Happy


Our Mobile Glasses-Free  3D display  project started by accident, it is an unanticipated offspring of some optical interconnect technology we had been working on for many years. Working in the field of integrated optics fills your head with ideas on how to reduce the form factor, cost, energy consumption of optical systems while improving their precision, and successfully applied a number fo these ideas to the field of displays...


Imagine holding a piece of glass or plastic, transparent, through which you can observe a new kind of virtual world. Real and synthetic scenes appear in full 3D with a complete, continuous sense of motion parallax. Objects seem to "pop" out of the screen and can be manipulated via simple hand gesture. Such a platform allows you to visualize, present and interact with data in unprecedented ways.


Why does it matter ? Of course there is the entertanment / gaming aspect. But let's focus on entreprise applications. You might be an architect trying to share a vision, or a design firm trying to interact with a client on the final look of a prototype. You need the data on the go, hand it to your clients so they can hold it in their own hands. Or you might be a biotech engineer trying to brainstorm on the moleclar configuration of your latest drug while having coffee at your nearby coffee shop. You might be in charge of performing maintenance of a data center and need on-site information on how to service a new model of server that you are not familiar with. Or a mechanic trying to repair a car or a plane and trying to get a sense of how various pieces fit together.


You ask how the technology can fundamentally change lives ? Let me give you my favorite scenario... You are a surgeon able to perform remote surgery from any location via a portable device. You control a set of remote tools and received 3D visual feedback in real time so everything feels the same as if you were near the patient. Perhaps you could benefit from haptic feedback as well to involve your sense of touch. While you are peforming the surgery, the 3D image stream is broadcasted simultanesouly to thousands of students who can follow the procedure in real time from the comfort of their own home. Later on a simulation software will replay the 3D feed, stop at a critical moment and ask a trainee to complete the  procedure.  


As you can see, the 3d display technology is only the tip of the iceberg. It generates a demand for a host of complementary tehnologies from image capture, storage, processing and streaming to novel user interfaces, all of which require large bandwidth, large storage, large processing units that could be a huge business opportunity for a company like HP...


Hope to see more posts like this from the community, keep the discussion going and very motivating for us to know that someone is paying attention Smiley Happy







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