It’s not easy to say for certain whether 3D film
s are The Next Big Thing, or represent a passing fad which
’s lingered on for a bit longer than most. Either way, researchers are hard at work cutting down some of the barriers which
3D screens tedious to use in the past.
Unless you are
rocking a 3DS, chances are pretty great
you’ve had to use glasses to achieve the 3D effect. These work by filtering out polarized light for each eye. Projectors or LCD’s can use which
to polarize images and show a slightly different perspective to each of the wearer’s eye. There are big downsides, however.
These glasses can be expensive, plus they’re one more barrier between you and film
-watching. Want to invite a bunch of friends over to watch the latest flick in 3D? Better hope you happen to have a bunch of spare sets. Many die-hard film
fans and critics (like the late Roger Ebert) in addition
criticized the glasses for making films seem dimmer — a side effect of filtering out half the light which
would normally reach each eye. So, what to do?
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks it has an answer. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) in conjunction with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, just finished a prototype for a new display type called Cinema 3D. It uses of an array of lenses and mirrors which
can present a 3D image to anyone sitting anywhere in the theater.
Unfortunately, this kind of set-up only works if the people seated are relatively still. So traditional film
theaters are fine, but don’t expect these displays to be available in your home, ever, essentially. Each screen would require a precise arrangement of lenses to send an image to each individual seat position. Again, in a theater where the layout is known, this isn’t a big deal. But in the home or anywhere else people move around, get popcorn, etc. and don’t come back to sit in the precise
same spot, it simply doesn’t work.
Cost is another huge concern. MIT professor Wojciech Matusik says which
he’s not certain
it will ever be financially feasible, adding, “We are optimistic which
this is an important next step in developing glasses-free 3D for large spaces like film
theaters and auditoriums.”
Right now the team only has a prototype which
the size of a standard sheet of paper, but they believe which
, in time, they could scale it up to any size. No word yet on if this eases the problems most
other viewers have with 3D, namely motion sickness and headaches.