Goodbye Glasses: Next Gen 3-D Theater

New optics research from South Korea offers the prospect of glasses-free 3-D display technology for commercial theaters.

New optics research from South Korea offers the prospect of glasses-free 3-D display technology for commercial theaters. The new technique can bring an added dimension to the movie-viewing experience while using space more efficiently and at a lower cost than current 3-D projection technology (Opt. Express 20, 20130).

Other glasses-free single-projector methods have been developed, but engineers are still seeking the best approach. The parallax barrier method, for example, creates the illusion of 3-D, but is cumbersome. It requires rear projection video and physical barriers or optics between the screen and viewer. These obstructions are like slats in a venetian blind, which create a 3-D effect by limiting the image each eye sees.

These researchers developed a new way to achieve the same experience while using a single front projector against a screen. In their system, the “slat” effect is achieved by using polarizers that stop the passage of light after it reflects off the screen. To block the light, they added a quarter-wave retarding film that changes the light’s polarization state. As light passes either through or between the polarizing slates, the offset effect is created, producing depth cues that give a convincing 3-D effect.

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Goodbye Glasses: Next Gen 3-D Theater

New optics research from South Korea offers the prospect of glasses-free 3-D display technology for commercial theaters.

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