Autostereoscopy is any method of displaying stereoscopic images (adding binocular perception of 3D depth) without the use of special headgear or glasses on the part of the viewer. Because headgear is not required, it is also called "glasses-free 3D" or "glassesless 3D". There are two broad approaches currently used to accommodate motion parallax and wider viewing angles: eye-tracking, and multiple views so that the display does not need to sense where the viewers' eyes are located.
- 1 Technology
- 2 Movement parallax: single view vs. multi-view systems
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Many organizations have developed autostereoscopic 3D displays, ranging from experimental displays in university departments to commercial products, and using a range of different technologies. The method of creating autostereoscopic 3D using lenses was mainly developed in 1985 by Reinhard Boerner at the Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) in Berlin. The HHI was already presenting prototypes of single-viewer displays in the 1990s. Nowadays, this technology has been developed further mainly by European companies. One of the best-known 3D displays developed by HHI was the Free2C, a display with very high resolution and very good comfort achieved by an eye tracking system and a seamless mechanical adjustment of the lenses. Eye tracking has been used in a variety of systems in order to limit the number of displayed views to just two, or to enlarge the stereoscopic sweet spot. However, as this limits the display to a single viewer, it is not favored for consumer products.
Currently, most flat-panel displays employ lenticular lenses or parallax barriers that redirect imagery to several viewing regions; however, this manipulation requires reduced image resolutions. When the viewer's head is in a certain position, a different image is seen with each eye, giving a convincing illusion of 3D. Such displays can have multiple viewing zones, thereby allowing multiple users to view the image at the same time, though they may also exhibit dead zones where only a non-stereoscopic or pseudoscopic image can be seen, if at all.
The principle of the parallax barrier was independently invented by Auguste Berthier, who published first but produced no practical results, and by Frederic E. Ives, who made and exhibited the first known functional autostereoscopic image in 1901. About two years later, Ives began selling specimen images as novelties, the first known commercial use. Nearly a century later, Sharp developed the electronic flat-panel application of this old technology to commercialization, briefly selling two laptops with the world's only 3D LCD screens. These displays are no longer available from Sharp but are still being manufactured and further developed from other companies. Similarly, Hitachi has released the first 3D mobile phone for the Japanese market under distribution by KDDI. In 2009, Fujifilm released the FinePix Real 3D W1 digital camera, which features a built-in autostereoscopic LCD display measuring 2.8" diagonal. Nintendo has also implemented this technology on its latest portable gaming console, the Nintendo 3DS. Micromax released the A115 Canvas 3D smartphone using an autostereoscopic cell-matrix parallax barrier 3D display.
Integral Photography and Lenticular Arrays
The principle of integral photography, which uses a two-dimensional (X-Y) array of many small lenses to capture a 3-D scene, was introduced by Gabriel Lippmann in 1908. Integral photography is capable of creating window-like autostereoscopic displays that reproduce objects and scenes life-size, with full parallax and perspective shift and even the depth cue of accommodation, but the full realization of this potential requires a very large number of very small high-quality optical systems and very high bandwidth. Only relatively crude photographic and video implementations have yet been produced.
One-dimensional arrays of cylindrical lenses were patented by Walter Hess in 1912. By replacing the line and space pairs in a simple parallax barrier with tiny cylindrical lenses, Hess avoided the light loss that dimmed images viewed by transmitted light and that made prints on paper unacceptably dark. An additional benefit is that the position of the observer is less restricted, as the substitution of lenses is geometrically equivalent to narrowing the spaces in a line-and-space barrier.
Philips solved a significant problem with electronic displays in the mid-1990s by slanting the cylindrical lenses with respect to the underlying pixel grid. Based on this idea, Philips produced its WOWvx line until 2009, running up to 2160p (a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels) with 46 viewing angles. Lenny Lipton's company, StereoGraphics, produced displays based on the same idea, citing a much earlier patent for the slanted lenticulars. Magnetic3d and Zero Creative have also been involved. The hardware overlay for iPhone and iPod touch named 3DeeSlide also adopts this technology to convert the standard screen into an auto 3D display.
Compressive Light Field Displays
With rapid advances in optical fabrication, digital processing power, and computational models for human perception, a new generation of display technology is emerging: compressive light field displays. These architectures explore the co-design of optical elements and compressive computation while taking particular characteristics of the human visual system into account. Compressive display designs include dual and multilayer devices that are driven by algorithms such as computed tomography and Non-negative matrix factorization and non-negative tensor factorization.
Autostereoscopic content creation & conversion
Converting or creating digital content, including fully interactive content, for 3D autostereoscopic display is no longer a complex and expensive process due to the introduction in 2014 of instant conversion software tools that leverage the processing power of the modern GPU. Tools are now available not only to convert existing 2D and 3D movies to autostereoscopic formats, but also to create new and interactive content using fully WYSIWYG scene editors. In addition, a range of add-ons for software such as 3D Studio Max, Adobe AfterEffects and other software are available to enable the conversion of content to autostereoscopic formats.
In 2014, the problem of the real-time processing of the massive amounts of sub-pixel data needed to produce 3D autostereoscopic content and interactive presentations with live-data was solved by new algorithms developed by ViewPoint 3D, a London-based start-up. Tools for the instant conversion of existing 3D movies to autostereoscopic were demonstrated by Dolby and Stereolabs.
Direct autostereoscopic content generation
ViewPoint-3D and Taodyne are two companies offering direct autostereoscopic output using differing approaches. ViewPoint3D uses a WYSIWYG drag-and-drop 3D content creation editor that enables rapid creation of FHD and QHD (4K) 3D autostereocopic content, including fully interactive 3D content, that can instantly produce multiview 3D output with live-data from database and RSS feeds. Taodyne's Tao Presentation software allows 3D content to be displayed using a scripting language to describe dynamic documents in a way reminiscent of HTML for web pages, that can be generated from an external web-based editor.
Dimension Technologies released a range of commercially available 2D/3D switchable LCDs in 2002 using a combination of parallax barriers and lenticular lenses. SeeReal Technologies has developed a holographic display based on eye tracking. CubicVue exhibited a color filter pattern autostereoscopic display at the Consumer Electronics Association's i-Stage competition in 2009.
There are a variety of other autostereo systems as well, such as volumetric display, in which the reconstructed light field occupies a true volume of space, and integral imaging, which uses a fly's-eye lens array.
Sunny Ocean Studios, located in Singapore, has been credited with developing an automultiscopic screen that can display autostereo 3D images from 64 different reference points.
A fundamentally new approach to autostereoscopy, called HR3D has been developed by researchers from MIT's Media Lab. It would consume half as much power, doubling the battery life if used with devices like the Nintendo 3DS, without compromising screen brightness or resolution. And having other advantages such as bigger viewing angle and it would maintain the 3D effect even when the screen is rotated.
Movement parallax: single view vs. multi-view systems
Movement parallax refers to the fact that the view of a scene changes with movement of the head. Thus, different images of the scene are seen as the head is moved from left to right, and from up to down.
Many autostereoscopic displays are single-view displays and are thus not capable of reproducing the sense of movement parallax, except for a single viewer in systems capable of eye tracking.
Some autostereoscopic displays, however, are multi-view displays, and are thus capable of providing the perception of left-right movement parallax. Eight and sixteen views are typical for such displays. While it is theoretically possible to simulate the perception of up-down movement parallax, no current display systems are known to do so, and the up-down effect is widely seen as less important than left-right movement parallax. One consequence of not including parallax about both axes becomes more evident as objects increasingly distant from the plane of the display are presented, for as the viewer moves closer to or farther away from the display such objects will more obviously exhibit the effects of perspective shift about one axis but not the other, appearing variously stretched or squashed to a viewer not positioned at the optimum distance from the display.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stereoscopy.|
- Explanation of 3D Autostereoscopic Monitors
- Overview of different Autostereoscopic LCD displays
- ViewPoint-3D real-time software with direct autostereoscopic output
- Rendering for an Interactive 360° Light Field Display, a demonstration of Autostereoscopy using a spinning mirror, a holographic diffuser, and a high speed video projector demonstrated at SIGGRAPH 2007
- Behind-the-scenes video about production for autostereoscopic displays
- 3D Without Glasses - The Future of 3D Technology?