Microsoft working on glasses-free 3D display (w/ Video)

Jun 13, 2010 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Microsoft 3D display
Microsoft's glasses-free 3D lens directs light to each eye individually to create 3D images. Image credit: Microsoft.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although today's 3D displays require viewers to wear special glasses, many research groups are working toward glasses-free 3D displays. Most recently, Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group has demonstrated a stereoscopic 3D display that projects different images to a viewer’s left and right eyes, and doesn’t require glasses. The display uses a viewer-tracking system, which consists of a camera that tracks viewers’ eyes and a lens that steers light directly into the viewers’ eyes by switching LEDs along its bottom edge on and off.

The key to the lens design is enabling it to control light in a specific way. The lens is tapered, with an 11-mm thickness at the top and a 6-mm thickness at the bottom. The LEDs shine light into the back of the lens at a certain position and angle, and the lens determines how the light bounces around and where and at what angle it escapes the lens. By replacing the traditional backlight in an LCD TV, the thin lens can turn a 2D into a .

At this stage in development, the 3D display can project images to only two viewers, since a standard 240Hz LCD TV can project four 60Hz views. A refresh rate of 60Hz is about the slowest possible before the frames start getting jerky. At this speed, the display can also project 2D images to four people, since each viewer only needs one view. In order to accommodate more viewers, Microsoft is pushing display manufacturers to make faster LCDs. The company also hopes to increase the 20-degree viewing angle to at least 40 degrees by tweaking the lens design.

The stereoscopic 3D technology could also have applications besides 3D TV due to the fact that each viewer receives their own unique view. This feature makes it possible for viewers to see completely different things on the same screen. Microsoft is investigating how to integrate the lens into the backlight of a , where it could project a private view to the person sitting directly in front of it, and a completely different public view in all other directions.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Although the concept of viewer-tracking 3D displays has been around for a long time, only recently have computers become fast and inexpensive enough to accommodate the high-speed requirements of viewer-tracking systems. Microsoft’s display, with its novel thin lens design, overcomes another challenge: reducing the bulkiness of earlier prototypes. The lens shape allows the researchers to decrease the distance between the projector and the screen because light can travel within the lens rather than in air.

Since the market for 3D TV is expected to grow from 2.5 million sets shipped in 2010 to 27 million in 2013, ’s 3D display and others will likely continue to improve over the next few years.

Explore further: For Google's self-driving cars, learning to deal with the bizarre is essential

Related Stories

Japanese Researchers Develop Portable 3D Display System

Sep 29, 2006

NTT DoCoMo, Inc. announced today that it has co-developed a portable, seven-inch 3D display system with Associate Professor Yasuhiro Takagi of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. Both still images and video can ...

World's Highest Resolution 3D Images

Aug 31, 2004

NEC Corporation today announced that it has succeeded in the development of a novel 3D system-on-glass ("SOG") liquid crystal display ("LCD") that can display the world's highest resolution 3D images. NEC's original Horizontally Double-Density Pi ...

3D TV -- Without the Glasses (w/ Video)

Oct 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Even with "active shutter" 3D technology for television sets, the wearing of special glasses is still required in order to get the proper experience. They aren't those red and blue or red and ...

Live pictures in 3D

Mar 04, 2005

A design engineer’s job is never easy – designing exhaust pipes, packaging or industrial plant demands considerable ingenuity. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz ...

Recommended for you

Bluetooth may be the key to your future smart home

17 hours ago

If you've ever considered trying to turn your house into a smart home, you've likely found the prospect expensive or technologically intimidating. That situation could soon change, thanks in part to an old ...

Self-driving cars could be the answer to congested roads

Nov 24, 2014

If cars with drivers still suffer under gridlock conditions on roads, how will driverless cars fare any better? With greater computerisation and network awareness, driverless cars may be the answer to growing ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

baudrunner
not rated yet Jun 14, 2010
Philips had a 3-D display in production for some time but withdrew it from the market. Probably because of lack of demand, considering one practically needed a phd in physics to set it up, but also because of cost.
DesertEagleMan
not rated yet Jun 15, 2010
What an absurd idea. Epic fail right from the start. So for 6 people to watch the movie, I need a 720Hz TV? If you can't make it 3D for everyone watching regardless of where they are without glasses, don't bother. No wonder Windows 7 is so expensive!
LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Jun 15, 2010
oh please thats just a microsoft hating comment there. all technology starts in one area, then expands to other areas through research and innovation after the release of the initial technology THAT MAKES IT ALL POSSIBLE TO START WITH.
oh and windows 7 is no more expensive than any other current operating system with its capabilities (with the exception of maybe the free linux flavors out there, but those all lack the capabilities so dont count)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.