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MIT Creates Glasses-Free 3D Screen with Multiple Perspectives

Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have developed a fundamentally new approach, dubbed HR3D, which they say can expand the viewing angle of a 3D screen, making it practical for larger devices with multiple users.

Normally, a display creates the 3D effect by relaying two sets of images at the same time, sets that end up synchronized by passive polarized or active shutter glasses.

The system they came up with uses two layers of liquid-crystal displays. But instead of displaying vertical bands, as the 3DS does, or pinholes, as a multi-perspective parallax-barrier system would, the top LCD displays a pattern customized to the image beneath it.

Because the slits are oriented in so many different directions, the 3D illusion is consistent, no matter whether the image is upright or rotated 90 degrees. Adding more perspectives changes the pattern of the slits, but allows just as much light to pass.

If a device like the 3DS used HR3D, says the team, its battery life would be longer, because the parallax barrier would block less light. The 3-D effect would also be consistent no matter what the orientation – indeed, applications could actually take advantage of screen rotation, particularly in devices that have built-in motion sensors.

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