Of all the attempts we’ve seen to digitize card games and eliminate nightly feuds over poorly shuffled decks and questionable hands, ReQTable is the most ambitious and easily the most amazing, with its ability to create 3D images of playing cards that seem to float In front of each player, all without revealing those cards to others. Add some virtual monsters, and you’ll have my editor’s childhood dream.
Most attempts to digitize board games and card games usually involve turning a giant touch screen into a table large enough for players to gather around. This is the approach taken by devices like Arcade1Up’s infinite gaming table, and while it ensures that no one can flip the digital game boards and play the pieces when they start to lose, it makes it difficult to play games like poker, as players need to keep their games . private hand. The Infinity Game Table solution is physical shields that you can place on your touch screen to hide certain parts of it from others, but ReQTable’s solution is to roll out some great custom display technology to solve the problem.
Developed by researchers at the University of Tokyo and scheduled to be officially presented at next week’s Siggraph 2022 conference, ReQTable is an improvement over existing 3D display technology called slit mirror arrays. These are able to create images that appear to float in the air in front of the intended observer without the need for special glasses. Using double-sided mirror matrices, the technology can create a pair of holograms, visible from opposite sides, which in this case allows one person sitting at the table to see the cards that have been dealt to them, while the person opposite them is seated only to see the appearance of the general card.
The problem with this approach is that double-slit mirror arrays traditionally produce stray images and stray light, which in the case of a virtual card game, gives players a glimpse of their opponent’s hands. ReQTable solves this problem and removes stray light and ghost images through the use of polarizers, which can selectively suppress light at a certain frequency, and display control films, which block light traveling in certain directions, as detailed in a recently published paper:
Double-sided displays where the light sources are placed under the dual SMA. In this case, the rays of light from the back of the two-sided screens form atmospheric images for each user. The light rays from the screen are linearly polarized by the first polarizer. Then, the rays that make up the ghost images are reflected an odd number of times in the double SMAs. Therefore, the direction of their polarization changes, and they cannot pass through the second polarizer. In contrast, transmitted light rays and photo-forming rays in air are reflected an even number of times in the double SMAs. The direction of their polarization differs from that of the rays, which turn into ghost images. Therefore, they can pass through the second polarizer.
Playing a round of virtual poker is a fun showcase for why the improved 3D rendering technology could potentially be useful, but there are countless other applications. One day, computer screens may be replaced by 3D displays created by a desk, and technology developed for ReQTable could allow multiple people to share the same desk while keeping their individual holographic screens private from one another. The technology also encourages additional human interaction, because despite the appearance of a 3D object floating in front of everyone on the table, they can still easily see each other and interact physically without worrying about hitting anything.
Not to mention that we can use it to play a very advanced version of blackjack for kids.