3D display goes vertical

July 16/23, 2003

Researchers from Seoul National University in Korea have devised a method that widens both the horizontal and vertical viewing angles of three-dimensional integral imaging systems, which use the clustered-lenses arrangement of insect eyes.

Although flies-eyes-arrays can provide high-quality three-dimensional pictures and don't require special viewing aides like polarization glasses, they tend to have a narrow viewing angle -- about 20 degrees.

The researchers previously widened the horizontal viewing angle using a system of fast mechanical shutters that blocked all but the appropriate portions of a three-dimensional image for a given angle. Their latest method is non-mechanical, and thus less prone to wear, and it increases the viewing angle both horizontally and vertically. The method uses a beam splitter to produce two, overlapping displays.

The beam splitter separates images into two opposite polarizations, one of which is used to widen the horizontal angle and the other the vertical. The system switches between the two polarizations faster than the eye can detect, creating a single, three-dimensional image that has twice the viewing angle of the original.

The technique could be used in simple applications like three-dimensional advertising displays within two years, and in three-dimensional TV systems in a decade, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the June 16, 2003 issue of Optics Express.

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