MIT’s Glasses-Free 3D Screen Places Holograms Inside The TV


Researchers developed a 3D projection system that doesn't require any eyewear.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 20 may 2014

A team of researchers from the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab have been working on a multiperspective, glasses-free 3D video screen for the last three years. They created the glasses-free 3D video screen as a cheaper alternative to holographic video.

The team has recently designed a projector that uses the same technology as the 3D screen. The glasses-free multiperspective system enables viewers to see a different perspective of the objects on the screen depending on their position or the user’s point of view.

The researchers built a prototype from scratch using off-the-shelf components. They used two liquid crystal modulators placed between the light source and the lens. The first modulator slightly angles the outgoing light so that they pass through the second modulator at particular angles. When combined, the two modulators present slightly different images depending on where the viewer is positioned.

The group also built a special type of screen that creates wider viewing angles. They created a prototype of the screen using two lenticular lenses, which are like the striated transparent sheets used in toys and children’s books to create so-called “3D effects.”


Aside from its obvious applications in entertainment, the team also sees this kind of system as a technology that may have applications in collaborative design or medical imaging. The multiperspective 3D projection system prototype still needs a lot of work and is far from perfect, but the researchers see it as a transitional system that people can use while the technology is being developed and improved.

The research team, which includes graduate student Matthew Hirsch, research scientist Gordon Wetzstein,and Ramesh Raskar, head of the Camera Culture group and NEC Career Development Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, will be presenting their study at the Siggraph, a major conference for computer graphics.

Watch the video below for a brief explanation of the technology behind the glasses-free 3D projection system.

Take a look at the video below for more about the research group’s glasses-free 3D screen.

Camera Culture // MIT Media Lab

Source: MIT News

Header Image: Matt Neale CC BY 2.0

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