Fraunhofer solves content headache for glasses-free 3D

Fraunhofer researchers have answered content concerns surrounding glasses-free 3D displays with a technology that can adapt conventional 3D films in real time. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz Institute, HHI in Berlin will unveil the technology that converts a Blu-ray's existing 3D content in a manner that enables them to be shown on autostereoscopic displays at the IFA trade show, August 31 to September 5.

The 3D movies currently available on Blu-ray are based on two different perspectives, i.e., two images, one for each eye. However, autostereoscopic displays need five to ten views of the same scene (depending on the type). In the future, the number will probably be even more. This is because these displays have to present a three-dimensional image in such a manner that it can be seen from different angles.

"We take the existing two images and generate a depth map – that is to say, a map that assigns a specific distance from the camera to each object," says Christian Riechert, research fellow at HHI. "From there we compute any of several intermediate views by applying depth image-based rendering techniques. And here’s the really neat thing: The process operates on a fully automated basis, and in real time."

Previous systems were only capable of generating such depth maps at a dramatically slower pace and sometimes required manual adaptation.

The researchers have finished the software and are now working in collaboration with industry partners to port it onto a hardware product that can be integrated into televisions.