It has come to my attention that several companies are working on a 3-D TV for which you don’t need those stupid glasses. I’m talking about the glasses with thick plastic frames that make your nose itch and your eyes hurt. They also seem to dull the colours, which in my opinion doesn’t make the 3-D experience any better. Before I explain some of the upcoming technology, let me try to summarize the history of 3-D technology.
Time warp! In the late 1890s William Friese-Greene filed a patent for a 3-D film process. The idea was to project two films side by side on a screen, while the viewer looked through a stereoscope to converge the two images. This kicked off the race for the crap we have now. How’s that for a summary? While 3-D films have been shown in various forms since 1915 and have resurged in the 1950s, 1980s and 1990s, it wasn’t until Avatar in 2009 that 3-D films have claimed a permanent spot in people’s hearts (not mine, I hate it). Since then, cinemas have been displaying 3-D films non-stop, perhaps in a way to combat the illegal downloading and streaming of films online. While I understand their need to attract more visitors and would hate to see cinemas go down, I hate 3-D even more.
There is existing technology that allows you to see 3-D without those glasses. This is referred to as autostereoscopic displays, developed by Sharp. There are mainly two ways of autostereoscopic displays, lenticular lenses and parallax barriers. They redirect incoming imagery to several viewing regions at a lower resolution. You have to get your head in the “sweetspot” so that each eye sees a different image, giving you the illusion of 3-D. I would say this is a major improvement over those stupid glasses, but we can take it even one step further.
Japanese researchers have developed a technique to create holograms with colour. The main difference with current 3-D technology is that holograms are actually in 3-D, meaning you can walk around it. The quality needs much improvement, but you can compare it with the holograms in Star Wars, which is pretty cool. Perhaps someday we’ll be able to build life-size holograms like in Star Trek, although I doubt we’ll be able to make them tangible. Imagine a hologram that you can actually touch and programme to do whatever you want it to … Like you haven’t thought about it either!
For those of you who like 3-D films, there is one upcoming about the deep-sea adventure of James Cameron. It’ll be showing his discoveries in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans. I even dare to say I might go see it myself, though you can be sure I’ll be missing out on the rerelease of Titanic 3-D.
What are your thoughts on 3-D? Feel free to leave a comment below.