Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group (APG) has designed a lens that could help make it possible to watch three-dimensional movies without glasses. The lens is thinner at the bottom than at the top, a design that steers light to a viewer's eyes by switching light-emitting diodes along its bottom edge on and off. When combined with a backlight, the switching diodes make it possible to show different images to different viewers, or to create a 3-D effect by presenting different images to a viewer's left and right eye. "What's so special about this lens is that it allows us to control where the light goes," says APG's Steven Bathiche.
Microsoft's display can deliver 3-D video to two viewers at the same time no matter where they are positioned. The 3-D display uses a camera to track viewers so it knows where to steer the light.
The lens design, which includes a rounded, thicker end, dictates how the light bounces around and when and where it can escape, Bathiche says. He says the lens could replace the traditional backlight in a liquid-crystal display to create a glasses-free 3-D display.
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