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10 things you need to know about 3D displays

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3D TV hasn’t caught viewers’ imagination yet, but other 3D ideas are taking off, from gaming to advertising to saving lives.

1 3D TV was initially a flop

There was hype around 3D-capable TVs in 2012 and 2013, but it wasn’t matched by interest from viewers. The BBC’s decision in July 2013 to take a three-year break from making 3D programmes reflected the flop, as the head of its 3D trial said: “It’s the right time for a good old pause.”

2 Amazon’s Fire Phone

Amazon placed its bet on 3D with the launch of its Fire Phone in 2014, with a feature called Dynamic Perspective that provided a 3D effect as people looked into the screen. Meanwhile, rumours in November suggested that Apple’s next iPhone, which should be unveiled in the autumn of 2015, will also have a 3D display.

3 Nintendo rows back on 3D handhelds

When it launched in 2011, Nintendo’s 3DS gaming handheld system made 3D one of its key features, with the ability to show stereoscopic 3D effects for games. After public discussion of the possible effect on children’s eyesight, the company launched its non-3D 2DS in 2013 to sit alongside the 3DS.

4 Oculus Rift on the way

The evolution of virtual reality headsets may be encouraging for the future of 3D TVs. Dismissed as an expensive failure in the 1980s, Oculus Rift has rekindled enthusiasm in the UK. Due to be commercially released in 2015, and now owned by Facebook after a $2bn acquisition, it’s targeting games, social networking and entertainment as key uses.

5 Samsung takes 3D VR mobile

Oculus is also working with Samsung on the latter’s Gear VR headset, which uses a Galaxy Note 4 as its screen to deliver immersive 3D visuals. Due to go on sale this year, it will have a similar focus on games, but also video and more exploratory virtual-world apps.

6 MIT works towards holographic TV

One of the areas of development to revive 3D TV is getting rid of the colourful glasses. In May, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed its plans for a “glasses-free, multiperspective, 3D video screen”. This aims to be a cheaper, more effective alternative to holographic video for the home.


7 3D interfaces for 3D displays

Watching a 3D screen is one thing, but when interacting with it there’ll be more call for 3D interfaces. The Leap Motion gestural controller has attracted attention, but Intel also showed off its own technology using a 3D camera to seemingly float a graphical interface in front of people.

8 ‘Ultra real’ 3D screens for cinemas

Director Douglas Trumbull is on a mission to make “ultra real” 3D in cinemas a way to dive even deeper into films. Or, rather, to have characters dive out of the screen. It works by projecting films at 120 frames per second. “I can’t wait to see somebody up close, talking not to another character but directly to me,” he said in a recent interview.

9 Aerial Burton’s hovering signage

Japanese technology company Aerial Burton is working on projecting 3D images into the air. It ionises air molecules to create glowing, hovering images, with hopes of using them in emergencies to direct people to escape routes and supplies.

10 Cxense working on 3D web ads

Inevitably, there are companies hoping to turn new 3D display technology to advertising. Norwegian firm Cxense works on regular computers and mobile phones, making images seemingly pop out of web pages. The idea is to attract attention from people who usually glaze over banner ads.

Source:  http://www.theguardian.com/