HP Researchers Present Glasses-Free 3D Technology

HP Researchers Present Glasses-Free 3D Technology

21 March 2013

Researchers at Hewlett Packard (HP) Laboratories have come up with next-generation technology that allows the watching of three-dimensional (3D) TV without putting on special glasses, Science Magazine reports.

Thanks to the technology, developed at HP's largest lab, in Palo Alto, California, viewers can see 3D images not only without wearing glasses, but without the need for a fixed viewpoint as well, as images can be viewed from different angles. The researchers believe that this breakthrough could drive the rollout of mobile 3D devices like watches, phones and tablets, as well as 3D TV.

The researchers, led by physicist David Fattal, used conventional computer chip manufacturing technology to produce optical components known as diffraction gratings. These elements split and diffract light into several beams and control the direction in which light comes from each pixel in the screen. Then, other standard optical devices, called waveguides, were put into use to direct light towards the grating in each pixel, together with liquid crystals that control the colors of light emerging from each pixel. This resulted in the creation of a high-resolution video display that delivers a full 3D image that can be viewed from 14 different view zones. The researchers - who demonstrate the technology in several videos that can be downloaded from the Nature journal - hope they could raise the number of view zones to 64. This number should be sufficient to ensure a seamless 3D image for the human eye even if the viewer is walking around the room.

The new technology is yet to come to the market as there are still certain manufacturing issues that need to be addressed, Neil Dodgson, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge, told Nature. Besides, cameras capturing between 14 and 64 different images that can be passed to 3D screens are yet to be developed.