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Next Generation 3-D Theater: Optical Science Makes Glasses a thing of the Past

August 24, 2012 | Telepresence Options
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Actual experimental results demonstrate the promise of a glasses-free 3-D theater experience. Two cars, one red and one blue, are projected onto a screen through a parallax barrier. As the light shines back through the polarizer, two offset images are created, which creates the visual cues that the brain interprets as depth.

Even with current digital technology, the latest Hollywood blockbusters still rely on clunky glasses to achieve a convincing 3-D effect. New optics research by a team of South Korean investigators offers the prospect of glasses-free, 3-D display technology for commercial theaters. Their new technique, described in a paper published today in the Optical Society's open-access journal Optics Express, uses space more efficiently and is cheaper than current 3-D projection technology.

Logitech� Web VC Systems - Logitech� Video Web Conferencing. Simple Design, High Quality Results - Logitech-ConferenceCam.com From the early days of cinema, film producers have used various techniques to create the illusion of depth - with mixed results. But even with digital technology, the latest Hollywood blockbusters still rely on clunky glasses to achieve a convincing 3-D effect.

New optics research by a team of South Korean investigators offers the prospect of glasses-free, 3-D display technology for commercial theaters. Their new technique, described in a paper published today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express, can bring this added dimension while using space more efficiently and at a lower cost than current 3-D projection technology.

"There has been much progress in the last 10 years in improving the viewers' experience with 3-D," notes the team's lead researcher Byoungho Lee, professor at the School of Electrical Engineering, Seoul National University in South Korea. "We want to take it to the next step with a method that, if validated by further research, might constitute a simple, compact, and cost-effective approach to producing widely available 3-D cinema, while also eliminating the need for wearing polarizing glasses."

Polarization is one of the fundamental properties of light; it describes how light waves vibrate in a particular direction--up and down, side-to-side, or anywhere in between. Sunlight, for example, vibrates in many directions. To create modern 3-D effects, movie theaters use linearly or circularly polarized light. In this technique, two projectors display two similar images, which are slightly offset, simultaneously on a single screen. Each projector allows only one state of polarized light to pass through its lens. By donning the familiar polarized glasses, each eye perceives only one of the offset images, creating the depth cues that the brain interprets as three dimensions.


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