Chairman Mr. Katayama delivering an address
Thank you very much for your taking time from your busy schedule to participate in the "3D Consortium 2006 General Meeting."
My name is Mikio Katayama from Sharp, and I serve as the chairman of the Consortium. I humbly ask for some of your time to deliver a word of greeting.
Since the inauguration of the 3D Consortium three years ago, especially during these two years, development of the 3D infrastructure seems to have been rapidly enhanced.
3D has been enjoying much attention in the movie industry especially in the United States, and their technical innovation seems to be surpassing Japan. Originally, people in the 3D industry in the United States gathered there for global development of business to seek persons who shared the idea, so I can say that now they have found a way for further expansion.
In terms of further growth of the 3D market, I think it is difficult without independent expansion of three factors, which are hardware, software and contents.
Considering such a situation, I would like to present my own summary of the current situation and challenges of 3D today.
Looking back at the history of images, we have been seeking various kinds of expressive media including drawings and photos since ancient times, and what amazes me is the fact that we established an era of moving images in only a hundred years.
Looking at the innovations we achieved in the last 100 years, hardware including liquid crystal displays, plasma displays and projection displays have been invented, and methods to control software and tools for various expressions have also been improved.
In such a trend, equipment to display stereoscopic images, which was used in many of the pavilions at "EXPO 2005 AICHI JAPAN" and gave us novel surprises and impressions, was new to our memories in addition to the evolution in their expressions of contents. Dr. George H. Heilmeier, who received the 2005 Kyoto Prize in November 2005, named 3D as one of the technologies to be emphasized in the future.
I can say that the 20th century was the era of moving images, and the 21st century is, and will be, the era of stereoscopic images.
In the United States, 3D version of "The Polar Express" produced by Robert Zemeckis in 2004 was better accepted than 2D, and has been rerun in iMax theaters in all over the United States since November 2005. In addition, after the establishment in July 2005 of specifications by DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives), an industry organization of digital cinemas in the United States, the introduction of digital cinema projection systems which can show 3D movies is expanding globally.
"Chicken Little," which had been released in November 2005 as the first full computer graphics movie presented by Disney, was already shown in 3D at 85 movie theaters, and won the top box-office ratings the first week of its release in the United States. "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D" was also released in February this year, and other releases of 3D movies are continuing this year, too.
During the "ShoWest" convention which was held for the people in the movie industry including movie theater owners and movie studio representatives last year in Las Vegas, famous movie producers including George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez and Randal Kleizer organized a symposium concerning the digital 3D projection system, and emphasized the importance of 3D in the development of the movie industry in the future.
Actually, Lucasfilm has a plan to remake all the six "Star Wars" movies in 3D and release them as a series.
As another point to be noted, distribution of 3D images is conducted via TV broadcasting as in the case of the popular drama "Medium" which was shown in 3D on NBC in the United States.
For the sound expansion of the 3D market, approaches to verify the effects of 3D images on human bodies are very important.
Thanks to the efforts of our members, significant guidelines as a reference are being prepared.
As a part of such an effort, research on the effects of 3D images was conducted as part of the "comprehensive research and development by the Network Human Interface Institute (technologies to avoid adverse effects of images on human bodies)" which was commissioned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the result was "there is no significant difference between conventional 2D displays and 3D displays in terms of eye strain."
Rather, research on the positive effects of 3D images on human bodies which can be achieved by watching 3D images such as improvement in sight and dynamic vision is being conducted in various fields.
In addition, guidelines for image creators are important for preparation of safe and comfortable contents.
Research from such a standpoint is progressing, and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) prepared and published the guidelines, "ISO IWA3 - Image safety - Reducing the incidence of undesirable biomedical effects caused by visual image sequences" in September 2005.
ISO IWA3 are the only internationally authorized guidelines on the biomedical effects of images including stereoscopic ones which should be referenced first in terms of safety, and provisions related to stereoscopic images are stipulated in these guidelines.
The 3D Consortium prepared the revised and enhanced "3DC Safety Guidelines" which fully conform to the provisions concerning stereoscopic images in ISO IWA3 for utilization by our members for their businesses. These guidelines were included in the materials we distributed today for your reference.
3D attracts attention as an important technology for universal communication which is essential for realization of a ubiquitous network society.
In the "Final report of the research committee concerning universal communication technology" which was published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in December 2005, the communication by using 3D images was described as "communication technology with super realism", and the report summarized that "maturing of technologies, creating new know-how by transmission and sharing of information, and solving social problems leads to formation of a safe society where family ties are strengthened, people can enjoy 3D televisions, and international negotiations are developed smoothly."
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plans to establish the "Universal Communication Industry-Government-Academia Forum (tentative)," and the 3D Consortium expressed its intentions to actively participate.
Mr. Yoshiaki Takeuchi, Chief of the Research Promotion Room of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, will deliver a keynote lecture concerning "research and development of universal communication technology," and I hope that you will feel a sign of the presence of the large-scale project.
3D displays drew great attention and acquired a good reputation during exhibitions including "CEATEC" and "FPD International" and various forums and academic meetings over these years as well as "Rittai Expo (Stereoscopic Image Industry Exhibition 2005)" which we have been supporting.
A pavilion named "3D Display Fair" will be newly installed during the Industrial Virtual Reality Expo in June 2006, and the 3D Consortium will provide support.
Lastly, I am going to analyze the types of markets where expressions based on 3D images can be fully utilized to reach the potential of the current situation.
For this analysis, I am going to think about the fields where 3D can be utilized in terms of devices which have both public and private uses, as well as entertainment and practical uses.
The needs for application of 3D expressions depend on the types of usage, and the requirements for display devices also vary.
For personal use, hardware should be enhanced for viewing without deflector glasses.
These three factors, hardware, software and contents, have been adequately developed in the movie industry. It seems to be the result of establishment of a standard viewing style (hardware) which uses deflector glasses and projection displays which led to the growth of software and contents.
From the standpoint of a hardware (device) manufacturer, I strongly feel that there are many challenges to be tackled, but I recognize that there are many opportunities as well.
I think one of the significances of the 3D Consortium is to conduct proactive external activities to work with the industry to realize continuous technical development.
I hastened to summarize a market overview. I am sure that the environment around 3D will perk up this year.
Taking LCD televisions of which I am involved with as an example, when our company created an objective seven years ago to introduce LCD televisions to all households by 2005, I doubted if such an era would really come, but the trend is going towards that direction, and amazingly, TVs with as large as a 65-inch screen are now used at home.
One thing we have to remember is that the advances in technology will go further beyond our thoughts.
Our current activities are still small-scaled compared to the global activities, but based on the dreams of the people who are involved in creation of contents as in the United States, there are numerous 'seeds' which can be grown by advanced technologies.
It is our responsibility to make their dreams come true by development of new technologies to expand the 3D market to include the general public.
I am going to exert efforts for the further growth of the 3D market with you.
I would appreciate your kind, continuous support.