The biggest complaint we hear about 3D technology is how much people hate the glasses. Whether they’re active shutter or passive polarized, many people just don’t want an extra fashion accessory to view 3D content.
Toshiba is on track to make 3D glasses a thing of the past. In a prototype LCD displayed at the SID 2010 show in Seattle, WA they demoed technology allowing glasses-free 3D viewing in nine discrete positions using “GRIN” (gradient index) lens technology. The “GRIN” lens is made up of a second LCD panel over the main 1400 x 1050 2D panel.
When activated, the GRIN lens changes the refraction index distribution and creates a 3D image. When the GRIN lens is turned off, the refraction index is unaltered and a 2D image is displayed. 2D images retain full resolution, while 3D image resolution is cut back to 466 x 350. One of the neatest tricks is, but turning the GRIN lens partially on, the panel can simultaneously display 3D and 2D imagery. It’s not clear if this means the nine 3D zones can see 3D while the others see sharp 2D, or if there’s some other arrangement, but this a very interesting capability.
The current demo is only a 12” display and the 3D resolution isn’t much to write home about, but this technology could be what liberates 3D enthusiasts from an even nerdier existence than they (and I mean we) are in for.
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