Most of the 3D movies and displays which have gained attention in recent years cannot be viewed stereoscopically without wearing special glasses. In addition, the existing 3D images tend to make the viewer’s eyes tired, and they also look the same from different angles. The computer-generated hologram, however, enables viewers to enjoy realistic 3D images without taxing the eyes because it creates 3-dimentional light. The 3D image is based on hologram principles, and does not invoke contradictions to human optical functions. This why it is called a perfect 3D image. As it is not an optical illusion, but is created from the vast calculation of data in a computer-generated hologram, the 3D image is immensely realistic and does not need special glasses to view.
Professor Matsushima was deeply moved at beauty of a hologram exhibited in a gallery he visited in the USA. The experience made him embark on the research of 3D images. The computer-generated hologram is created by simulations on a computer, and the result gives the hologram a depth effect that has never been created before. The traditional analog hologram has a history extending back 50 years, and various research had been engaged in with regard to digitization. The necessary calculations, however, took too long on previous computers to successfully create a digitized hologram. Along with the improvement computers equipped with large capacity and high-speed operation functionality, the calculation performance and display technology to digitalize holograms has progressed drastically. In 2003, Professor Matsushima and Assistant Professor Sumio Nakahara started a joint research project. In 2011, the inventiveness of Professor Matsushima combined with the advanced technical capabilities of Assistant Professor Nakahara resulted in the successful generation of the world’s top level 3D image work “Brothers” by employing a German laser direct drawing device. The hologram was exhibited in “The Jeweled Net: Views of Contemporary Holography” held at the MIT museum ‒ one of the best hologram collections in the world. “Brothers” aroused an excited reaction from observers.
Many analog holograms are still being produced in the art world. Yet no one has successfully digitized holograms to produce moving 3D images for practical use. Professor Matsushima’s development may make this possible. As his research proceeds, the results may be applied to advertising technology such as “eye-catch” or “digital signage,” or to interior decoration. By the 2020s, application to televisions and personal computers is also foreseeable. By 2020, we may be able to enjoy viewing the Tokyo Olympic with a supreme 3D television.
Besides 3D images, holography is also applied to various research fields such as bill forgery prevention, holographic memory devices to replace DVDs, arithmetic elements on optical computers, so on. It is also an active area of inquiry in industry-university joint research. Professor Matsushima says, “I’m excited to develop visual image technology that nobody has seen before, and am happy to see that it makes people all over the world happy”. There is another world over the display – such a dreamlike future is coming to us little by little.