Researchers Develop Ghost-Free 3D For Viewers Not Wearing Glasses

You know that sad feeling you get when a headache's coming on while watching a 3D movie and you remember that you can't actually take the glasses off for a few seconds of relief because the ghosted 2D image is even harder to watch? That could be a thing of the past as researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz have developed a new kind of 3D display that doesn't appear ghosted when you're not wearing those special glasses.

Traditional 3D projection systems use two overlaid images, one for each eye that's singled out by those glasses you have to wear. But this new system works its 2D/3D magic by projecting an additional third image that's a negative of the image destined for the right eye. So when you're not wearing glasses it cancels out the right eye image, leaving just the un-ghosted left. But when you are sporting those less-than-stylish specs, the third image is filtered out, so you can see the 3D effect as intended.

In its current state the new 2D/3D system isn't perfect, though. The technique leaves the 2D image lacking contrast, so to compensate the researchers had to increase the brightness in the left image compared to the right in 3D mode. But through experimentation they managed to find a good balance where the researchers claim the difference in brightness didn't take away from the experience. Now where was this technology two years ago when theaters could have really used it to help sell the 3D experience? Is this a case of too little, too late? [UCSC via Gizmag]

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