Polarizing glasses and liquid crystal are pushing
3-D technologies. Dynamic polarization management
presents different images to the right and left eyes,
producing one with depth [top right image]. This is
done using a modified flat panel [below right] display and could soon be the norm for gaming systems
and eventually for TV. Courtesy of iZ3D.
rare as to be almost nonexistent in the US,
although there was a 3-D movie trailer
shown during this year’s Super Bowl.
On the technology side, 3-D displays
have to present two slightly different 2-D
images, one for the right eye and another
for the left. The two are then interpreted
by the brain as a single 3-D image.
These distinct and separate images can
be displayed in a number of ways, but the
most common for larger, shared screens is
through the use of glasses. In one implementation, the display polarizes the images, and polarized material in the glasses
ensures that the proper image gets to the
correct eye. In another, the glasses are
used as shutters, synchronized with the
changing images on the display so that
each eye sees only the appropriate image.
The first approach is more demanding
of the display but easier on the glasses,
which are passive devices and can therefore be light and inexpensive. The second
is easier on the display, although it does
require that it be fast enough to switch
quickly between images. The active
glasses, however, are more complex and
tend to be heavier and more expensive
than passive ones.
The 3-D market is at present very small,
but Colegrove thinks the technology is
Fun and games
Games are expected to go 3-D before
television does for a number of reasons.
One is that hard-core gamers are willing to
spend money, and they tend to be early
adopters of technology, characteristics that
make them a potential market. Another is
the result of a decision made years ago by
game developers in response to another