Glasses-free 3D projection shows different perspectives from varying angles

A glasses-free 3D projection system that shows different perspectives of an image depending on the viewer’s position was recently unveiled by MIT researchers ahead of computer graphics conference, Siggraph. The Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab released details of the projector that exploits a glasses-free, multiperspective 3D video screen that the team has developed over three years.

The project can also improve the resolution and contrast of conventional video but it is its ability to show different perspectives of an image could see it find uses in collaborative design and medical imaging as well as obvious entertainment applications.

Gorden Wetzstein, research scientist; Matthew Hirsch, graduate student; and Ramesh Raskar, the NEC Career Development Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and head of the Camera Culture group built a prototype of their system using off-the-shelf components.

At the heart of the projector is a pair of liquid-crystal modulator, described by MIT as “like tiny liquid-crystal displays (LCDs”. These are positioned between the light source and the lens.

According to information from MIT: “Patterns of light and dark on the first modulator effectively turn it into a bank of slightly angled light emitters, that is, light passing through it reaches the second modulator only at particular angles. The combinations of the patterns displayed by the two modulators thus ensure that the viewer will see slightly different images from different angles.”

In addition, screen development is also continuing with a new prototype that widens the viewing angle.