More freedom of movement while viewing glasses-free 3-D

August 13, 2013
More freedom of movement while viewing glasses-free 3-D
A new image processing technique automatically calculates where the viewer is located in front of the television. The user can move about more freely in the room without wearing 3D stereo viewing glasses as well. Credit: Fraunhofer HHI

Thanks to a new image processing technique, we can now move about in a room more freely when watching 3D-TV without wearing stereo viewing glasses. Fraunhofer will be exhibiting the technology at the IFA international consumer electronics trade fair (Internationale Funkausstellung) in Berlin September 6 – 11, 2013.

In order to dispense with 3D glasses, a television needs to have information about the exact of the viewer. Built-in cameras need to track both pupils continuously to obtain this information. Each eye perceives a separate image so that the 3D effect appears without using the glasses. Nevertheless, the technology still has its weaknesses. If the user moves too quickly or changes viewing position, the images appear distorted or unstable. The manufacturers prescribe optimal viewing distances that are supposed to guaranty quality viewing.

Purchasers of autostereoscopic television models today, i.e. 3D models not requiring stereo viewing glasses to be worn, are confronted not just with a high price tag, they also have to live with loss of depth and once the distance to the screen falls below or exceeds the recommended one.

The image adapts to the position of the user

Help has now arrived from the labs of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI), in Berlin. Researchers have developed a new image processing technique that enables viewers to enjoy full 3D quality, even at different distances – and without having to wear stereo viewing glasses. As a result, viewing can be enjoyed at as little as half or up to twice the originally specified viewing distance. The trick: while software cannot eliminate image distortion, it can nevertheless shift it so that viewers always have an undistorted 3D image before their eyes. Even if a viewer moves from the initially specified position. This results from re-calculating the individual sub-pixels for the display by means of a whenever the viewer changes position. This way, images are formed that are located between the left and right eyes and are available as additional viewing points. The viewer can move not only forwards and backwards, but sideways as well, without distorted images being formed or images jumping back and forth between individual 3D views.

"Until now, this could only be accomplished by a very expensive mechanical means. The new digital processing works faster and more robustly. In developing the electronic version, we benefitted from technological progress in image resolution and software," explains Klaus Hopf, HHI Group Manager for "Man-Machine Interaction". The new technology has been optimized for multiview 3D displays. This kind of display is able to provide several different viewing points so that several users can experience the effect without wearing stereo viewing glasses. The new technique now permits up to five persons to view 3D content at a distance of 30 cm (12 in) to six meters (20 ft) without impairing the apparent depth and image resolution. The freedom of movement attained enables viewing autostereoscopic displays on desktops, watching television or viewing displays in public spaces.

Researchers will be exhibiting the technology in the Fraunhofer Booth at the IFA

"Glasses-free 3D systems are currently beginning to be used in medicine, research, and industrial applications. The new software can also provide new impetus for introducing the technology into the home or in advertising," predicts Hopf. He will be exhibiting the new technique in the Fraunhofer Booth at the IFA (IFA TecWatch, Hall 11.1, Booth 21).

Explore further: Researchers develop 3-D display with no ghosting for viewers without glasses

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not rated yet Aug 14, 2013
This would be a great relief and sounds very promising. Not everybody can tolerate or use 3D glasses. One point of concern from the article though, This article talks of this being done by tracking a person's eye position. It also does not talk of more than one person using this system at the same time. How confused would that sensor get if there were at least 2 people in the room? Multiple sensors would cause a tracking conflict too. Can this even be adjusted for more than 1 viewpoint simultaneously, or are 2 or more people going to have to get ultra-cosy on the lounge to all take advantage of this feature without messing it up? I rather suspect that this is a current limitation on the system. More likely is that the design of the TV itself (whether this be is screen shape or type, or new technology) will have to change before that problem can really be solved.
Cheers, DH66
not rated yet Aug 14, 2013
The Fraunhofer site talks about these being multi-user displays which calculate up to 9 views (i.e. up to 9 people can view the display at once and get the benefit of 3D...which seems adequate for home and business applications)

Not having to wear glasses is certainly a must-have feature (espcially for people who already wear glasses)
not rated yet Aug 14, 2013
where did you find the info that gave you the actual number? I was also hoping for a hint as to how they overcame the multi-angle viewing issue.
Cheers, DH66
5 / 5 (1) Aug 14, 2013
Found it here (german only)

as to how they overcame the multiangle issue. You can do it two ways. The 'old' way is by changing the refractive layer on top of your display (which is the mechanical way they speak of). In short: That is simply done by moving two layers of pyramidally etched sheets relative to one another.
What they did was recalculate the pixel image for various angles/positions based on the tracking of the people in front of the screen and display that (no mechanical moving parts required).
not rated yet Aug 14, 2013
A mixture of 'stereo- and mono zones' to achieve multi-viewing. Now that IS a rather startling and novel concept! Now I wonder how well the system could lock onto the eyes of a glasses wearer, especially if they have a polaroid coating on their 'everyday' glasses? Considering how polarisation works, tilt your head and you might have a problem.
What do you think?
Cheers, DH66

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