Whether it’s the fully immersive environment of the Holodeck from Star Trek or a 3D projection from a droid in Star Wars, interactive and immersive holographic technology has been a staple of science fiction for decades. Only recently has this technology evolved into something that can be considered commercial reality. However, significant innovation is still needed before it will be viable for widespread adoption.
The focus of most discussion around immersive technology is on the display, the component closest and most apparent to the end user. While the display is a key component of immersive media technology, it is only one piece of a much larger ecosystem. Many other aspects of immersive media technology are less commonly discussed and not as widely understood.
A more complete view includes capturing, compressing (encoding and decoding) and transmitting the immersive media, as well as rendering on various types of displays.
There are many technologies related to immersive media delivery, but for the purposes of this discussion, we look primarily at light field technologies. These are among the most challenging to develop but lead to outstanding visual representation and experiences.
In this paper, we discuss the full immersive ecosystem and its component parts, review key areas where innovation and further research is needed, and outline how the technology will likely evolve in the coming years.