XR Particle Based Display Exhibitions

XR Particle Based Display Exhibitions

Large Scale Public Exhibitions Using Volumetric 3D Content, Mid-Air Haptics and Sound.

Particle Based Displays (PBDs) are a novel kind of mixed-reality technology developed at UCL. They use ultrasound transducer arrays and quick scanning particles to create volumetric content that the users can see, hear and feel with their bare eyes, ears and hands. This technology brings us closer than ever to Sutherlands’ vision of the Ultimate Display [2], directly controlling matter and energy in free space to stimulate our senses.

While current prototypes have only demonstrated small content, nothing limits the techniques, hardware and underlying principles from being applied to larger spaces or volumes. This AHRC Partnership will address the engineering challenges required for scaling up PBD systems and pave the way for commercialisation. We fully embrace engagement with the public and content creators, in order to better understand the experiences we can create, and to co-develop tools to facilitate the creation of such experiences.

During our partnership, we aim to create up to six public exhibitions, both temporal (e.g. Royal Society Summer Science Festival, New Scientist Live) and permanent (e.g. Baoshan Folk Museum and the Nature and History museum, in Shanghai). As a key novelty, users will not need to be augmented in any way, enabling scalability to large audiences, use in unsupervised environments and walk up and use scenarios. That is, while many VR public experiences require leasing expensive equipment (i.e. headsets, portable laptops, controllers), and can lead to safety issues requiring supervision (i.e. users do not see other people or the world around them), our exhibitions will not require any instrumentation. During the experience, users will remain fully aware of their surroundings and they will be free to engage with our exhibition or walk away when desired. This makes our experience particularly well suited for public spaces, exhibition centres or even transit areas, such as shopping centres.

Our exhibitions will help us explore the reach of PBDs while maximising their visibility to the general public and to key industries. Through interactions and workshops with international content creators, we will co-create tools for PBD content creation, helping establish a pipeline of trained professionals, reducing risks related to creating content for PBDs and establishing the grounds to enable PBDs to become a key driver for digital technology innovation in the creative industries.


Diego Martinez Plasencia

Lead organisation

UCL Interaction Centre


Diego Martinez Plasencia
Roberto Antonion Montano Murillo
Eimontas Jankauskins
Ben Kazemi



Some example experiences created with PBD systems