attempt to deliver 3-D game content.
“Most of the games have 3-D information embedded in their 2-D versions,” saidThomas Striegler, president and CEO ofiZ3D. The San Diego-based start-up company offers a 3-D monitor for gamers. Introduced last year, it uses the inherentcharacteristic of liquid crystals to dynamically change the polarization on a pixel-by-pixel basis. Combined with linearlypolarized viewing glasses, this allows leftand right image information to end up inthe correct eye.
The monitor is about 50 percent moreexpensive than a similarly sized 2-D one,
largely because it has a second LCD layer
that controls the polarization and thereby
produces images with depth. The 3-D
monitor also has to have a brighter back-
light than a 2-D one because of the two
LCD layers that must be transited instead
of the one found in a 2-D monitor.
Striegler said that a polarization ap-
proach, which uses passive glasses and not
ones with a shutter in them, offers the ad-
vantage of minimizing visual and mental
strain on the viewer. Polarization-based
techniques are used in 3-D movies, al-
though circular polarization is the focus,
not the linear polarization used by iZ3D.
The company plans to go both big and
small with its monitors. The larger ones
will be for high-definition home entertain-
ment, either broadcast or recorded. The
smaller ones will show up in phones and
other handheld devices. In that case, the
implementation may be different because
there are other technologies than LCDs
that could be used.
Going deep on small screens
For example, Qualcomm MEMS Technologies of San Diego has a reflectivedisplay technology that works by usingelectrostatics to change an air gap in a minuscule subpixel microelectromechanicalsystems (MEMS) element, thereby turningthe element on or off. Different air gapslead to different colors when the elementis on.
Because the company is a subsidiary ofcell phone chip maker Qualcomm, it’s nosurprise that its products show up in handsets, in part because they consume verylittle power when displaying unchangingpixels.
Displays will be seen everywhere, thanks to recenttechnical advances. A micromirror chip set, like theone shown left, embedded in a cell phone couldallow virtually any flat surface to be a display, evena 3-D one. Courtesy of Texas Instruments.