Monday, October 4, 2010

Parallax and the false hope of Glassless 3D

Recently, Toshiba launched a 3D without glasses TV using the parallax technology. Its the same technology that used in Nintendo 3DS. This technology has been around for long times. Do you ever bought a kids book that looks different when you view it from the left and right? Thats exactly how parallax works. It blocks some pixels shot to your right eye and show it to the left eye, and visa versa. To block this pixels, there is a layer called barrier in front of the screen.
Easy, simple, but not comfortable

While some says this half the frame rate of the required ordinary 3D technology, most people forget that this require double the pixel sent to the screen. So basically, the total amount of data sent to the screen per second is equal. But this is not the main focus of the debate. 

Most people think that this technology is the future of 3D technology. The dream of 3D without glasses is rising making the penetration of shutter image 3D tech harder to penetrate the market. However, this is not the case that happens. Parallax image is a technology that has more limit than other 3D concept. It require a steady eye position (or slow movement), does not support multiple viewer (yet), limit the viewing distance and angle, and while it works better on smaller screen, it does not perform well on the bigger screen. While its not qualified for your living room TV, those limitations are not found on portable gaming device.

Shutter Image or other glass based 3D technology wont face those limitation. The user is based on the amount of glasses, the angle is based on the screen quality, and you can move freely without affecting the quality of image arrived to your eyes. So basically, its pretty save to say there is no technology as comfortable as glass-based 3D technology recently and I believe not in the near future. Microsoft has launched a research of this and the closest thing they can have is a technology that follows the eyes and shoot the image to the eyes. But it still does not counter the multiple viewer limitation, still have a distance limitation, and the worst part is it does not work on low-to-zero ambient environment.
I would'nt mind wearing this to the club
Like it or not, the Shutter and Polarized technology is the future of 3D technology. Expensive? Yes, but its comfortable and gives you the best 3D experience compared to the older red blue glasses. While shutter is most common in the living room, polarized is the best passive glasses tech that you can see in most cinema.     

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