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Digital signage takes to mid-air with Mitsubishi Electric tech

Mitsubishi Electric has developed what it calls an ‘aerial display’, which projects images of around 56-inches diagonally, into midair.

The company says it expects the technology to be commercially available from 2020 onward in digital signage, entertainment and other sectors.

Among the uses the company cites are displaying large images in the air above stadiums, or displaying life-sized images of people for remote communication.

The technology has been under research and development by Mitsubishi Electric since April 2015.

The offering uses a beam splitter and a retro-reflective sheet to reflect the image.

“The light that is projected from the screen is reflected by the beam splitter and then subsequently by the retro-reflective sheet,” Mitsubishi Electric says. “The result is that the light re-converges as an image that appears to be floating in the air.”

The company says one issue it ran into was the difficulty viewers, unused to focusing their eyes on open space, had in understanding where an aerial image is being displayed without physical clues.

Mitsubishi Electric’s solution has been to include ‘guide images’ on the walls on both sides of the aerial image to indicate where the aerial image will appear.

The company says the entire display area, including the guide images, is around 90-inches diagonally – 1992mm wide and 1120 high.

Mitsubishi Electric says the offering is 'realising futuristic visual communication technology with many potential applications'.