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Nearly three dozen companies participated in the Emerging Companies Summit, held during NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference in May. Below is one in a series of company profiles showcasing how startups are innovating with GPU technology.

While holograms have been featured in commercial entertainment for decades, RealView Imaging Ltd. is taking the idea seriously ­­– from science fiction to real life.

The Israel-based startup has created a revolutionary hardware and optics system that projects true 3D holographic images into free space. These images can be interacted with by literally touching the image with, for example, a finger or tool. The holograms can be moved, marked, cross-sectioned and cropped.

RealView co-founder Shaul Gelman at ECS

And these aren’t grainy images of Star Wars’ Princess Leia coming out of R2-D2. Rather, they’re high-resolution, full-color holograms projected in real time.

Creating these is a huge computational challenge, according to Shaul Gelman, company co-founder and head of research and development. So RealView relies on a powerful cluster of NVIDIA Tesla GPUs with an NVIDIA Quadro card to run its sophisticated algorithms.

Using RealView’s proprietary optics system, the resulting holograms are projected to viewing angles of unprecedented width that appear to physically float in free air. And since you can see them in actual space, you can easily interact with them.

One RealView prototype supports the medical imaging market, specifically the areas of cardiology and obstetrics. Using the system, cardiologists can determine precisely how well an artificial heart valve might fit in a patient’s heart. An obstetrician can mark and measure the growth of a fetus’s femoral bone, for example – all in the open air of an examination room.

RealView’s system has obvious applications in a variety of other fields where seeing and interacting with objects would be useful, such as signage, gaming, architecture and engineering. Adding aural or tactile qualities are more speculative areas of inquiry in the development of holograms that RealView’s Gelman would only hint at.

Perhaps the family of the future won’t just watch Star Trek reruns on TV, but be able to interact with them from the holodeck.

[Update]: You can now watch Shaul Gelman’s presentation at ECS on the GTC On-Demand site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chrigi-Bittorf/1200062440 Chrigi Bittorf

    If this is serious (of course its serious but if its only a thought or just the beginning of a developement it shouldn’t be so interesting) and they’re building this, then it could be available in the next (guess) 5 years… Just imagine this : you don’t need a 3D television better even a screen anymore.. This could be the most innovative invention we had in the last couple of years..

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabi.bronshtein.1 Gabi Bronshtein

    RealView Imaging Ltd. is an Israeli company? What does Israel-based mean?

  • http://twitter.com/Toms_VFX Toms

    Chrigi Bittorf, just imagine how much stuff you need to generate, to create true 3D stuff. There just isnt two 2D images wich make 3D effect, there need to be crapton of more information, maybe some advanced point cloud systems. But maybe I understand this new thing wrong.Tom

  • Wepiha Te Ata

    Furthermore, take the idea of hologram 3D screens and then let me walk around the house, do the dishes, use the toilet and take a shower -all the while watching my favourite episodes. I like it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/harperman Rheal Harper

    we have distance detecting cameras all we need to do is adapt that to give the data needed to skulpt a 3d object similar to how they do motion capture for animation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000044369145 Andreas Verhoeven

    you should make sensors when you touch the hologram you select and interact with it        like a pause/play hologram butons in the air rather than controling with buttons on a remote 

  • bonsai_in_SF

    I’m speechless.

    How long before we can see working prototypes?

  • bonsai_in_SF

    With volume controls, too! Minority Report, here we come..

  • Gary_Rainville

    Gabi, the usage is meant to indicate that their primary location is in Israel. Lots of companies have offices in countries other than where their main facilities are based … and of course most will sell their services all over the world given the opportunity.

  • Gary_Rainville

    RealView has a prototype at their headquarters in Israel, but barring a trip overseas, check out the video we just added at the bottom of the post for a peek at how the technology works (and looks). Graphical representations start at the 5 min mark, pictures of actual holograms start at 7:45. 2D doesn’t do it justice, but it’s still really impressive!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3WKM6HNTZV4SC747GCUNS56QAQ Matt

    unbelievable… wow.  the israelis develop the most amazing things.