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The 3-D Volumetric Display technology patented by Parviz Soltan ’54 has garnered interest worldwide. Using lasers, the computer-controlled display system projects live data from an antenna onto the reflecting surface of a rotating helix in a way that produces a 360-degree, live, high-resolution image that illuminates within a transparent dome. Although the reflection appears holographic, it is real, full-volume imagery that can be viewed from any angle.

“I anticipate that the 3-D Volumetric Display will replace flat two-dimensional display panels throughout the world,” says the electrical engineering graduate. “A number of U.S. companies are marketing it already.”

Actuality Systems Inc. has a smaller model that it has sold to various research and development labs and to the U.S. military. Typical applications are expected to include medical imaging, air-traffic control, 3-D game development, and security operations. One day families may even find themselves watching television from all sides.

Developed at a Navy lab in California, the system is one of 22 inventions in various display technologies that Soltan developed during a 43-year career in electrical engineering and applied physics. Another memorable one, he says, was a patented plasma flat display panel created at IBM.

Soltan appreciated the diversity of students at Lafayette.

“I made many of my American and foreign friends at Watson Hall,” he says, “and the designated French and Italian language tables at dinner were unforgettable. But most important were the two courses I took in world religion. They really opened my heart and my eyes. Upon graduation I married a Catholic young lady from Vassar. I remain Muslim. We have been married for 48 years.”

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