MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture is developing a 3D display screen that does not require the use of special 3D glasses. While holographic TVs remain some distance in the future, this project is a much more practical solution in the short term. The project was featured in this summer’s Siggraph computer-graphics conference, where the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture group offered a new approach to multiple-perspective, glasses-free 3D display.
Douglas Lanman, a postdoc at the Media Lab says of the glasses-free 3D screen:
Holography works, it’s beautiful, nothing can touch its quality. The problem, of course, is that holograms don’t move. To make them move, you need to create a hologram in real time, and to do that, you need … little tiny pixels, smaller than anything we can build at large volume at low cost. So the question is, what do we have now? We have LCDs. They’re incredibly mature, and they’re cheap.
The technology behind the display lies in the multi-layer liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). Each LCD layer is capable of creating pixel-by-pixel light-filtering patterns, which refresh at a higher rate than what the human eye is adapted to see, thus displaying a series of different images to create a 3D effect.