UBC Computer Science Department and Vancouver based start-up company MTT Innovation Inc. were presented with the best-in-show LAVAL VIRTUAL award at the SIGGRAPH 2015 conference. They were recognized for their demonstration of a high brightness, high dynamic range projector for cinema at the Emerging Technologies exhibition of the conference. The prize includes an all-in trip for the team to demonstrate the technology at the LAVAL VIRTUAL conference and exhibition in France.
MTT and UBC demonstrated a new technology that aims at improving brightness and efficiency of cinema projectors. In a traditional projector, images are formed by pixel-selectively blocking light from a lamp or other light source. Given an average picture level in cinema of less than 10%, a large amount of light energy is wasted, and due to the requirement for large screens combined with thermal limits of imaging components in the projector, the peak white luminance is limited to a dim 48 cd/m^2.
In the proposed new architecture, light is steered away from dark image areas and into bright regions. This enables projectors with 10 to 30 times the peak luminance of existing systems, while improving black level and reducing the light source power and cost. Being able to scale peak luminance in this non-linear fashion is critical for high image quality because the human visual system’s brightness perception of luminance values is near-logarithmic.
Prof. Wolfgang Heidrich’s PSM lab in the UBC Computer Science Imager group and MTT Innovation have been collaborating on research projects related to the technology, specifically on inverse problems that allow the efficient generalization of the light lensing concept to imaging applications via ‘freeform lensing’ or ‘light steering’.
MTT Innovation is a privately funded start-up company that was founded in 2012 by UBC students and alumni with the goal of developing efficient and bright light steering technology for entertainment, professional and illumination markets. The company’s labs are located in North Burnaby.