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 October 20, 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 October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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