Forget holograms and 3D glasses, all the cool kids know that LED displays are where it’s at.
Like any self-respecting geek, I can remember my first time watching Star Wars, and how cool the scene with Leia’s holographic image pleading for Obi Wan to help the rebellion. For some reason, however, a scene that stuck with me more was during the Death Star briefing, when Mon Mothma walked her rebel pilots through the attack strategy. The simple graphics that accompanied her presentation were nothing more than dots, forming a 3D Death Star, and its trenches, and finally, a delightfully lame explosion animation, which at the time, blew my mind.
Today the scene seems a laughable relic, no longer high tech in the least. You won’t see a 3D LED display in even the lowest budget Sci Fi thriller, and you know what? I’m not happy about it. Now that I’ve established my love of blocky, rudimentary 3D animation, I can share how pleased indeed I was to come across a current demo of retro LED technology from a company called Seekway. They create essentially curtains of LED lights, computer controlled to flash on and off at the appropriate time. And the result, while clumsy, is stunning. While the displays are small (the one in the video measures only 32’x32’x16′), there is a certain wow factor that comes with enjoying a somewhat redundant branch of 3D graphic technology. I especially enjoyed how the camera moved during the video, allowing for multiple viewing angles.
Will James Cameron shoot his next blockbuster in glorious LED? Unlikely. But until then, I’m happy to watch a digital dancer strut her stuff to some upbeat pop music.