Save Article Instructions

3D displays for geographical intelligence analysts is goal of IARPA SHO research program

WASHINGTON, 24 April 2011. U.S. intelligence experts will brief industry on a program to develop holographic 3D displays to help geographical intelligence analysts process massive quantities of dynamic 3D data for prolonged periods without fatigue, and without special 3D glasses. Industry day briefings for the Synthetic Holographic Observation (SHO) program will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on 2 June in the Washington, D.C. area.

Sponsoring the SHO program are officials of the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) in Washington, which is the research arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The SHO program aims to create low-profile, brilliant, power-efficient, high-resolution, and full-color synthetic holographic 3D displays that present dynamic 3D data with no flicker, no color break-up, and simultaneously viewable by several analysts with the unaided eye. A formal solicitation for the SHO program should be issued later this year.

Industry day briefings will present information on the SHO program, take questions from those interested, and provide teaming opportunities, which IARPA officials say they strongly encourage.

Geo-intelligence analysts work with 3D data, which come from a wide variety of sources including light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), stereo from imagery, and digital terrain models. This 3D geographical information often fuses with multispectral imagery to represent geographic regions and situations of interest, IARPA officials say.

Current 3D viewing technologies, however, are inadequate to enable analysts enable to work interactively and collaboratively with 3D data in fast-paced operational settings for prolonged periods. Shortcomings involve the artificial rendering of depth and perspective, which often leads to fatigue and disorientation among analysts.

The SHO program will consider human factors to enable comfortable sustained viewing that is natural to the senses, IARPA officials say. The program also will develop powerful new software to enable analysts to work naturally in 3D without the drawbacks of today's systems.

Those who would like to attend the industry day briefings must register by 25 May online at The location of the briefings is available on the site to those who register. Send questions or concerns about the industry day briefings by e-mail at

More information is online at

To access this Article, go to: