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New Movie Screen Allows For Glasses-Free 3D at a Larger Scale

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A new prototype display could show three-dimensional movies to any seat in a theater, with no eyewear required.

Researchers have developed a display that can show three-dimensional films in a theater, without requiring specialized eyewear for viewers.

Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science have demonstrated a display on which audiences can watch three-dimensional (3D) films in a movie theater without additional eyewear.

The Cinema 3D prototype employs a special mirror-lens array, which overcomes the impracticalities of conventional 3D theaters, according to MIT professor Wojciech Matusik.

The Cinema 3D concept is based on the insight that people in cinemas move their heads only over a very small range of angles, constrained by the width of their seat. Therefore, displaying images to a narrow range of angles and replicating that to all seats in the theater should be sufficient, the researchers believe. They say Cinema 3D encodes multiple parallax barriers in one display, so each viewer sees a parallax barrier customized to their position. That range of views is then reproduced across the cinema by a series of mirrors and lenses within Cinema 3D's unique optics system, an approach that enables viewers in different parts of an auditorium to see images of consistently high resolution.

"We are optimistic that [scaling up the system] is an important next step in developing glasses-free 3D for large spaces like movie theaters and auditoriums," Matusik says.

The researchers will present the Cinema 3D concept this week at the ACM SIGGRAPH conference in Anaheim, CA.

From MIT News
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