3D entertainment has come a long way in recent years but users are still required to experience the technology via 3D glasses. The Camera Culture Group over at the Media Lab of MIT has just begun developing an all new 3D video projection system that will allow users to forgo the use of 3D glasses while also providing different users different perspective angles of the same object. According to the group, this technology will be used as a transition between the 3D technology of today and true holographic projection of the future.
MIT’s approach is to come up with a video projection system that doesn’t require the use of 3D glasses. This system will also have wide vision angles along with an ultra-high resolution while being mechanically simple, meaning you won’t have to deal with elaborate installations. In addition to that, this system is also aimed at being more economical than traditional holographic systems of similar quality.
The whole idea behind this technology from MIT is that it will act as a short term solution until something more refined is developed while also making it something users of traditional 2D systems will find attractive enough to start to transition into the 3D space.
What’s interesting about this technology is that it doesn’t simply produce an illusion or parallax. Instead, it creates an actual shift in perspective for multiple viewers looking at the image from multiple angles, providing that the illusion that you are looking at is a real life object. What’s more is that this technology provides better resolutions and contrasts than most 2D video.
Inside the projector is a set of flat panels comprised of liquid-crystal modulators. These panels act as tiny LCD screens that are set between the backlight source and the lens. The first set of LCDs produces light patterns at certain angles which then pass through the second set of LCDs at these exact angles. The patterns then go through a series of lenses arranged like a Keplerian telescope after which they pass through a transparent projection screen that is made up of lines of vertical lenses. This resolves the patterns into a 3D image that shifts as you move from one of eight PoVs to another.
The image is refreshed 240 times per second, which is less than that of a standard TV but more than standard-speed film. Even though the system will require a lot of bandwidth to operate, it does create the possibility of displaying ultra-high resolution video. This is achieved through data compression algorithms that focus on reproducing the edges of the images as opposed to the body of the images. In addition to that, the algorithm also produces a far brighter image with a stronger contrast by generating closer to “true black”, which is not possible with LCDs.
While we may still be a long way away from holographic projections similar to our favorite sci-fi movies, the technology is improving in that direction. This new system from MIT is being treated as a bridge between what we’ve envisioned from movies and what we currently have in terms of 3D projection. While the MIT team sees this technology having a use in entertainment, the technology could also have applications in collaborative designs and medical imaging.
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