Flat screen displays such as CRT displays, liquid crystal displays and plasma displays are predominantly used for visualization of product models in computer aided design (CAD) processes. However, future platforms for product model visualization are expected to include 3D displays as well. It can be expected that different types of display systems, each offering different visualization capability will complement the traditional flat-screen visual display units. Among the 3D display systems with biggest potential for product models visualization are holographic volumetric displays. One of the most appealing characteristic features of these displays is that they generate images with spatial representation and that appear to pop out of the flat screen. This allows multiple viewers to see 3D images or scenes from different perspectives. One of the main shortcomings of these displays, however, is that they lack suitable interfaces for interactive visualization. The work reported in this paper focused on this problem and is part of a large research in which the aim is to develop suitable interfaces for interactive viewing of holographic virtual models. Emphasis in this work was specifically on exploration of possible interaction styles and creation of a suitable interaction framework. The proposed framework consists of three interface methods: an intermediary graphical user interface (IGUI) — designed to be utilizable via a flat screen display and by using standard input devices; a gestural/hand-motions interface; and a haptic interface. Preliminary tests have shown that the IGUI helps viewers to rotate, scale and navigate virtual models in 3D scenes quickly and conveniently. On the other hand, these tests have shown that tasks such as selecting or moving virtual models in 3D scenes are not sufficiently supported by the IGUI, and that complementary interfaces may probably enable viewers to interact with models more effectively and intuitively.

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