3D Without Glasses

From Cecil’s column: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/340/why-do-you-need-special-glasses-for-3-d-movies

He says: “For years one heard rumors of an experimental 3-D screen that made glasses unnecessary. (Supposedly it worked along the lines of those novelty photos where the image changed as you looked at the thing from different angles.) However, as far as I can tell, this process is never became commercially practical.”

From what I understand, the upcoming 3D version of the Nintendo Gameboy does exactly this. It has a VVVVVVVVVV-shaped screen like those old “hologram” stickers you had as a kid, except in LCD form.

The catch is that apparently the 3D only works on one plane-- so things appear 3D left-to-right, but not top-to-bottom.

Oh, and the real problem with Space Hunter is that it was a pretty crappy movie. Heh.

:dubious: I’m not entirely sure what that means. All the 3-D technology is doing is presenting a slightly different scene to each eye. (In movie theaters, the people on the left side of the theater or in the balcony don’t see the scene from a different angle than those on the right side or at floor level. It’s not that 3-D!)

If there’s a problem with this sytem, I imagine it has more to do with getting this to work at a reasonable range of viewing distances and pupillary diameters.

In other words, if I’m looking at a cube, and I move my head to the left, I’ll see the left face of the cube, and if I move my head to the right, I’ll see the right face. The upcoming Nintendo device handles this fine. But if I move my head up or down, I should see the top or bottom face, but the new Nintendo doesn’t do this.

I don’t think this is correct. You can’t “look around corners” like you’re describing. The game is generating an image for each eye, and these don’t change based on your head position.

There is a DSi game in Japan that does head-tracking like this now, so the DS screens act like a window - you can move your head to the left to bring things into view on the right side of the screen. As far as I know, the upcoming 3DS doesn’t do this in its 3D effects.

If it’s generating an image for each eye, then they’d have to change with head position. If you move your head so your right eye is where the left eye was, then your right eye is now seeing the image previously intended for your left eye.

It can’t do that - so if you move your head significantly. the sterescopic view just breaks and the illusion of 3D is shattered. The 3DS uses a lenticular screen that is configured for producing left and right eye channels when held within tolerance of a certain way - and this can’t adjust itself based on movements of your head.

3-D without glasses exists- I personally saw a number of such 3-D TVs at a trade expo in Singapore a month or so ago, and they worked pretty well.

I don’t know whether it is still there, but for a long time LG had a display at Harrods in London which had a 3D TV which didn’t use glasses. It was a weird experience (in a good way), but you needed to keep your head quite still.

From what I could tell, the ones I saw in Singapore had a clear cover over the display (I assume it was polarised in the same way current 3-D movie glasses are), and whilst the effect didn’t work as well when viewed from a side-on angle, it was just fine “in front” of the TV and you could move your head etc without losing the effect which, whilst not quite as good as in current 3-D cinema films, was definitely and clearly 3-D, with good picture quality.

From here: http://tv.about.com/od/frequentlyaskedquestions/f/3DTV_FAQ.htm

“3D TV is an emerging technology that allows consumers to enjoy three-dimensional movies, television programs and video games in their homes. Several companies have developed viable 3D technology for the home theater environment, but the reality of seeing 3D TV in the average household is probably years away. That’s primarily because the technology requires the purchase of new television equipment, including a 3D-ready TV and a 3D-capable Blu-ray player.
One of the big questions about 3D TV is, “Will viewers have to wear glasses in order to enjoy 3D effects?” For the most part, the answer is, “Yes.” Although there are companies working on 3D television technology that does not require glasses, the systems that are coming out now use glasses.”

I guess some sort of device attached to your eyes to fool them is the best we can do for now.

Why can’t we focus more on how we project images? It seems to me all of the great home innovations started in the big theatres, 3-D being one among many (surround sound, wide screen among others that made us crave that Big Screen entertainment in the comfort of our homes). So why can’t the movie going/gaming experience be done in a way where the theatre screen is designed in a way that projects 3-D. (think of when “R2D2 projecting Princess Leia” kind of thing. Only in much bigger scale.

For some reason I imagine a screen curved inward (like a semi circle) with projectors coming in at different angles to form the images on “the stage” (the area in the half circle), and perhaps that even would provide you with that different view from different angles/locations in the the theatre (left side, balcon, right side, center… depending on where you sit. You’d have to consider in the design that you don’t want it to seem like being in a large hall watching a live play because you would still want that overwhelming Big Screen experience.

Or just hand out LSD to everyone and you really wouldn’t have to be too concerned about what you showed. The Wall is still good to watch when you’re tripping. Tommy is too.

Precisely, it doesn’t adjust itself when you move you head. All it can do is aim an image in some direction, and hope there’s an eye there to see it. It can’t tell if that’s a left eye there or a right eye; it gives the same image regardless. So if you put your right eye where your left eye used to be, it’ll see the image intended for your left eye. Now, what your left eye sees when you do that is a different matter, and would depend on the technology, but I didn’t say anything about that.

Because light doesn’t work like that.

Holography may someday get to the point that it can do something akin to this, but it sure as heck isn’t there yet.
Powers &8^]

Well, if you’ll accept smaller scale, there was such a game in the 1990s, Time Traveler. The display was incredibly impressive, even though the game wasn’t much fun.