Cinema 3D: New Display Enables Viewers to Watch 3D Movies without Extra Eyewear

In a paper published in the journal ACM Transactions on Graphics , researchers from the United States and Israel have demonstrated a display that lets you watch 3D movies in a theater without extra eyewear.

Cinema 3D: New Display Enables Viewers to Watch 3D Movies without Extra Eyewear

‘Cinema 3D’ could show 3D movies to any seat in a theater, with no eyewear required. Image credit: Christine Daniloff / MIT.
The prototype display, ‘Cinema 3D,’ uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable viewers to watch a 3D movie from any seat in a theater.
“Existing approaches to glasses-free 3D require screens whose resolution requirements are so enormous that they are completely impractical,” said co-author Prof. Wojciech Matusik of MIT.
“This is the first technical approach that allows for glasses-free 3D on a large scale.”
Prof. Matusik and his colleagues demonstrated that Cinema 3D allows viewers from different parts of an auditorium to see images of consistently high resolution.
“Our work proposes a new display concept, which supports automultiscopic content in a wide cinema setting,” the researchers explained.
“It builds on the typical structure of cinemas, such as the fixed seat positions and the fact that different rows are located on a slope at different heights.”
“Rather than attempting to display many angular images spanning the full range of viewing angles in a wide cinema, our design only displays the narrow angular range observed within the limited width of a single seat.”
“The same narrow range content is then replicated to all rows and seats in the cinema.”
“To achieve this, it uses an optical construction based on two sets of parallax barriers, or lenslets, placed in front of a standard screen.”
According to the scientists, Cinema 3D isn’t particularly practical at the moment.
Their prototype requires 50 sets of mirrors and lenses, and yet is just barely larger than a pad of paper.
“We hope to build a larger version of the display and to further refine the optics to continue to improve the image resolution,” Prof. Matusik said.