Christie Introduces Laser-Phosphor Projectors to the Simulation Market…

Christie Digital used I/ITSEC 2014 to introduce its new laser-phosphor projectors to the training and simulation community. The DWU555-GS is a solid-state, 1-chip DLP laser-phosphor projector with 5,400 ANSI lumens and WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution. With no lamp to replace, the lifetime of the light source is rated at 20K hours – a major improvement for the training and simulation market.

Christie debuted the DWU555-GS back at InfoComm and it is targeted at a variety of professional markets and applications. Most of the laser-phosphor projectors to date have used 3-chip DLP, 3-chip LCD or 3-chip LCOS engines, so the DWU555-GS is a bit different in its use of a single-chip DLP engine. We asked for a block diagram on this model, but did not receive one by press time.

Christie’s laser-phosphor projectors are also quite bright for the simulation market (5400 lumens) where contrast is often prized over brightness. To demonstrate its utility in this market, the company assembled an array of four of the projectors in a 2×2 matrix and illuminated part of an elliptical screen. This is the same shape that Christie demoed last year, calling it the “egg” screen.

While the name may be funny, the benefits are profound as it really helps to solve one of the big problems with wide field of view or domed displays – cross contamination of the light from one side to the other, significantly reducing contrast. According to developer Gord Harris, a typical spherical dome screen achieves a realistic contrast ratio of about 6:1. A paper I listened to later described a very impressive 13:1 for a collimated display solution. Harris said the “egg” screen was showing a contrast of 30:1.

The display was more of a concept piece although it is ideal for entry-level applications. The fully integrated, compact trainer features several simulation integration technologies. Christie used it mainly to demonstrate how it can be used to show 360-degree videos or stills. 360-degree image capture and display is becoming a very hot topic in professional gaming and entertainment circles as well as the consumer space. The coming onslaught of virtual reality headsets that can playback this 360-degree content has the potential to really change gaming and entertainment. Therefore, it is not surprising that such capabilities are of keen interest to the training and simulation community.

One application that Christie profiled was new crew orientation training for a ship using 360-degree stills captured on the ship. The idea is to position yourself in the sweet spot of the display and use a navigation device to look around the room you are in. Punch the button and you advance to the next room for a look around. This can be an easier way to create the virtual environment than building all the assets in CGI.s

The company also showed some footage of a hot air balloon event that was captured with 4-05 cameras and stitched into a composite video.

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Why more 346 are not paying attention to the contrast benefits of the “egg shaped” dome screens is a mystery to me.

The composite video was not very good as the resolution of each camera was low, the stitching was poor and there were lots of compression artifacts.(CC)