Viewing imagery on volumetric displays, which generate true volumetric 3D images by actually illuminating points in 3D space, is akin to viewing physical objects in the real world. These displays typically have a 360° field of view, and the user does not have to wear hardware such as shutter glasses or head-trackers. As such, they are a promising alternative to traditional display systems for viewing in 3D.
Although these displays are now commercially available (e.g., www.actuality-systems.com), current applications tend to use them as a non-interactive output-only display device, much like one would use a printer. In order to fully leverage the unique features of these displays, however, it would be desirable if one could directly interact with and manipulate the 3D data being displayed.
We investigate interaction techniques for volumetric display interfaces, through the development of an interactive 3D geometric model building application. While this application area itself presents many interesting challenges, our focus is on the interaction techniques that are likely generalizable to interactive applications for other domains. We explore a very direct style of interaction where the user interacts with the virtual data using direct finger manipulations on and around the enclosure surrounding the displayed 3D volumetric image.