HP invents glasses-free 3D

March 21, 2013

Glasses-free 3D display (credit: HP Labs)

HP researchers have developed a glasses-free, multi-directional diffractive backlight technology that allows for rendering of high-resolution, full-parallax 3D images in a zone up to 180° and up to one meter away, HP Innovation blog reports.

In other words: glasses-free 3D for your mobile device.

The display technology forms 3D images by projecting different 2D images into different regions of space. A viewer located near the display will see a different image from his right and left eye, resulting in a 3D effect without the need for special glasses or eye tracking.

Schematic of a spatially multiplexed color backlight, illuminated by three independent light sources (credit: HP Labs)

As the viewer moves around (or tilts) the display, he or she will perceive a succession of different image stereo pairs, creating the illusion of continuous motion parallax.

The key to the design is a LED-based guided-wave illumination technique that produces wide-angle multi-view images in color from a thin planar transparent lightguide.

Pixels associated with different views or colors are spatially multiplexed and can be independently addressed and modulated at video rate using an external shutter plane.

Beyond the obvious realms of gaming and entertainment for consumers, the HP researchers see a number of important enterprise applications, including 3D maps, medical telepresence, interactive models for construction, and design and architecture industries, among many others.