New technology to watch glasses-free 3D movies at home


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Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz Institute have developed a technology which converts Blu-ray’s existing 3D content in a way that it can be shown on autostereoscopic displays. The new television screens will make it possible for users to enjoy 3D content without the inconvenient 3D glasses. However, 3D content has been lacking until now. So, a new technology will help adapt conventional 3D films to the new displays in real time.

Watch 3D content without glasses (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Reportedly, television manufacturers are working on displays that can recreate the spellbinding magic of three-dimensional television images – without the glasses. Though prototypes of such TV screens already exist, now consumers will not have to wait much longer for the market introduction of these autostereoscopic displays. 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).

The number may even increase in the future as such displays have to present a three-dimensional image in such a manner that it can be seen from different angles. Basically, it should allow users to get the same three dimensional impressions from any position whether they are sitting on a sofa or on a chair on the other side of the room. Christian Riechert, researcher at HHI reveals that they 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. “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,” he added.

Previously, systems were only capable of generating such depth maps at a dramatically slower pace which also need manual adaptation at times. On the other hand, real-time conversion is like simultaneous interpretation - the viewer inserts a 3D Blu-ray disc, gets comfortable in front of the TV screen and enjoys the movie without the glasses. Meanwhile, a hardware component estimates the depth map in the background and generates the requisite views.

The researchers have already finished the software that converts these data. In the next step, the scientists, working in collaboration with industry partners, intend to port it onto a hardware product so that it can be integrated into televisions. It may take another year to make the technology available to the market and researchers will unveil this technology at this year’s IFA trade show in Berlin from August 31 to September 5, 2012.