Well aware that many viewers balk at high ticket prices and wearing goofy glasses to see eye-popping 3D effects, glasses-free 3D movie technology has become the holy grail of Hollywood. Researchers in South Korea believe they have a solution.
To create modern 3D effects today, movie theaters use a projector to display alternating images at the same time on the screen. When viewers wear 3D glasses, they force each eye to see one of the images, which simulates depth.
In a paper published today (Aug. 20) in the Optical Society's journal Optics Express, engineers at the Seoul National University in South Korea propose using just one projector on a modified screen to achieve a 3D experience. The screen is coated with a light-retarding film that does the work of the glasses, thus eliminating the need for viewers to wear them.
The coating on the movie screen creates a Venetian blinds' slat effect. As the light passes back either through or between the polarizing slates, the offset effect is created, producing the depth cues that give a convincing 3D effect to viewers, according to the paper.
The team said they will continue to refine their method and they anticipate that the technology could be seen at local movie theaters within the next several years.