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Glasses-Free 3D Comes Closer to Reality

Stephen Yagielowicz

“Watching 3D movies generally means suffering through two things: crappy plotlines that favor spectacle over substance and the need to wear some annoying, dorky glasses,” Adam Mann wrote for Wired.com, giving voice to a frustration felt by consumers that want to watch 3D content — but find the viewing experience ergonomically exhausting — a feeling which is compounded by the often lackluster quality of many offerings.

In a recent whitepaper entitled, “A frontal projection-type three-dimensional display,” a group of South Korean researchers put forth a new technique for enabling moviegoers to watch 3D movies without the need to wear glasses or other devices, providing a light at the end of the tunnel for goggle-weary audiences.

A group of South Korean researchers put forth a new technique for enabling moviegoers to watch 3D movies without the need to wear glasses or other devices.

The maturation of this technology has obvious applications for adult entertainment, and while the system in question is being developed for retrofit into existing theatre environments where the projector is behind the audience, it stimulates all developmental efforts, eventually bringing better 3D home.

“In a typical auto-stereoscopic three-dimensional display, the parallax barrier or lenticular lens is located in front of the display device. However, in a projection-type auto-stereoscopic display, such optical components make it difficult to display elemental images on the screen or to reconstruct a three-dimensional image, even though a projection-type display has many advantages,” the report states, adding that it’s necessary “to use a rear projection technique in a projection-type auto-stereoscopic display, despite the fact that this is an inefficient use of space.”

The new system offers several advantages over other glasses-free technologies, but at its current state of development, suffers from a disappointingly low resolution.

“We propose here a frontal projection-type auto-stereoscopic display by using a polarizer and a quarter-wave retarding film.

“Since the proposed method uses a frontal projection scheme and passive polarizing components, it has the advantage of being both space saving and cost effective,” the report continues, concluding that it is the first report describing “a frontal projection-type auto-stereoscopic display based on a parallax barrier and integral imaging by using a projector.”

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