Active Research Towards Glasses-Free 3D TV
3D when it started in its testing phase involved projectors though the technology was also applicable on television sets as well. Basically the display of the device is what the technology is applied upon. One of the technology works on the principle of placing micro-lenses in front of the screen and that gives the illusion of 3D from a 2D image. The technology is termed integral imaging and this could also be used on parallax barrier method.
There is however the belief that 3D could be more acceptable to the mass if the need for viewing glasses could be done away with.
Optics Express is a magazine that deals with such aspects and their online site has written about people at Seoul National University in South Korea coming out with a method for 3D without the need for glasses.
Light Emitted off the Screen
Glasses free 3D devices are today present but only in small size screens like the Nintendo 3DS gaming device. The technology is yet to prove its worth on large sized displays.
If we take the case of screens in movie halls, there are two projectors that are used from projection. The polarization of each projector is off set from the other. The glasses that people need to wear have counter polarized lens and this helps each eye to see only one image of the two being projected. The brain thereafter conjoins the two and forms the 3D image.
The Nintendo device uses the parallax method to project glass free 3D viewing capability. Here a single projection system is being used. If the same were to be used in movie halls then the image would need to be projected form behind the screen. A parallax barrier would need to be between the screen and the viewer in such a scenario to work.
Glasses for the screen rather than the viewer
This is a smart move on part of a research team at the School of Electrical Engineering, South Korea that aims to turn the tide in favor of the TV screen instead of the human eye. As a result, it is the TV screen that would be wearing the glasses instead of its viewers and this being achieved by using polarizers for the light reflecting off the screen. The screen is painted with a special coating called quarter-wave retarding film which splits the single image into two and blocks off some of the polarized light giving the illusion of depth.
The viewer in this case does not wear the 3D glasses; it is rather, the screen that wears it. This technology holds lot of promise for it would be lower in cost given the fact that only one projector is used. Also, while the initial tests have been done using projectors, the Professor Byoungho Lee led team is optimistic the technology would be equally effective for TV displays as well. For display of the type integral imaging, ‘multiple micro-lenses could be placed in front of a screen that presents 2D imaging, to create 3D’. The technique would also be applicable in the parallax barrier method.
The German Experiment
The technology is however in its nascent stages and there is many more miles before it can see light of day.
Auto stereoscopic display is another form of technology that Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications of the Heinrich-Hertz Institute in Germany is working on and has reported success in producing the 3D effect.
This technology requires the creation of 10 offset view of the same image to create the 3D illusion. Displays that use glasses for 3D need only two views in contrast. Research is now on to find a hardware and software mix to create this offset in a quick and easy manner.
So far as application of glassess-free 3D goes, there are a lot many applications that one can think of as per Ross Rubin who is the principle analyst for Reticle Research. In his view, though glasses are a major hindrance today when it comes to acceptance of 3D by the people at large, there is also the issue of cost and that 2D would be the most viewed format rather than 3D.