Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Next generation 3-D theater: Optical science makes glasses a thing of the past

Date:
August 20, 2012
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Even with current digital technology, the latest Hollywood blockbusters still rely on clunky glasses to achieve a convincing 3-D effect. New optics research offers the prospect of glasses-free, 3-D display technology for commercial theaters. Their new technique uses space more efficiently and is cheaper than current 3-D projection technology.

The experimental setup of a proposed glasses-free 3-D theater experience is shown, with the projector in the familiar front position, creating 3-D images.
Credit: Optics Express

From the early days of cinema, film producers have used various techniques to create the illusion of depth -- with mixed results. But even with digital technology, the latest Hollywood blockbusters still rely on clunky glasses to achieve a convincing 3-D effect.

New optics research by a team of South Korean investigators offers the prospect of glasses-free, 3-D display technology for commercial theaters. Their new technique, described in a paper published August 20 in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express, can bring this added dimension while using space more efficiently and at a lower cost than current 3-D projection technology.

"There has been much progress in the last 10 years in improving the viewers' experience with 3-D," notes the team's lead researcher Byoungho Lee, professor at the School of Electrical Engineering, Seoul National University in South Korea. "We want to take it to the next step with a method that, if validated by further research, might constitute a simple, compact, and cost-effective approach to producing widely available 3-D cinema, while also eliminating the need for wearing polarizing glasses."

Polarization is one of the fundamental properties of light; it describes how light waves vibrate in a particular direction -- up and down, side-to-side, or anywhere in between. Sunlight, for example, vibrates in many directions. To create modern 3-D effects, movie theaters use linearly or circularly polarized light. In this technique, two projectors display two similar images, which are slightly offset, simultaneously on a single screen. Each projector allows only one state of polarized light to pass through its lens. By donning the familiar polarized glasses, each eye perceives only one of the offset images, creating the depth cues that the brain interprets as three dimensions.

The two-projector method, however, is cumbersome, so optical engineers have developed various single projector methods to achieve similar effects. The parallax barrier method, for example, succeeds in creating the illusion of 3-D, but it is cumbersome as well, as it requires a combination of rear projection video and physical barriers or optics between the screen and the viewer. Think of these obstructions as the slats in a venetian blind, which create a 3-D effect by limiting the image each eye sees. The South Korean team has developed a new way to achieve the same glasses-free experience while using a single front projector against a screen.

In their system, the Venetian blinds' "slat" effect is achieved by using polarizers, which stop the passage of light after it reflects off the screen. To block the necessary portion of light, the researchers added a specialized coating to the screen known as a quarter-wave retarding film. This film changes the polarization state of light so it can no longer pass through the polarizers.

As the light passes back either through or between the polarizing slates, the offset effect is created, producing the depth cues that give a convincing 3-D effect to the viewer, without the need for glasses.

The team's experimental results show the method can be used successfully in two types of 3-D displays. The first is the parallax barrier method, described above, which uses a device placed in front of a screen enabling each eye to see slightly different, offset images. The other projection method is integral imaging, which uses a two-dimensional array of many small lenses or holes to create 3-D effects.

"Our results confirm the feasibility of this approach, and we believe that this proposed method may be useful for developing the next generation of a glasses-free projection-type 3-D display for commercial theaters," notes Lee.

As a next step in their research, the team hopes to refine the method, and apply it to developing other single-projector, frontal methods of 3-D display, using technologies such as passive polarization-activated lens arrays and the lenticular lens approach.

While their experimental results are promising, it may be several years until this technology can be effectively deployed in your local movie theater for you to enjoy without polarizing glasses.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Youngmin Kim, Keehoon Hong, Jiwoon Yeom, Jisoo Hong, Jae-Hyun Jung, Yong Wook Lee, Jae-Hyeung Park, Byoungho Lee. A frontal projection-type three-dimensional display. Optics Express, 2012; 20 (18): 20130 DOI: 10.1364/OE.20.020130

Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Next generation 3-D theater: Optical science makes glasses a thing of the past." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820121140.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2012, August 20). Next generation 3-D theater: Optical science makes glasses a thing of the past. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820121140.htm
Optical Society of America. "Next generation 3-D theater: Optical science makes glasses a thing of the past." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120820121140.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 24, 2014) General Electric keeps quiet on reports it's in talks to buy French turbine and train maker Alstom. Ivor Bennett reports on what could be an embarrassing rumour for the French government, with business-friendly reforms proving a hard sell. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) President Obama briefly played soccer with a robot during his visit to Japan on Thursday. The President has been emphasizing technology along with security concerns during his visit. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) President Obama spoke with student innovators in Japan and urged them to take part in increased opportunities for student exchanges with the US. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins