Co-developed by Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, display enables viewers to watch a 3-D movie from any seat in a theater
3-D movies immerse us in new worlds and allow us to see places and things that we otherwise couldn't. But behind every 3-D experience is something that is uniformly despised: those goofy glasses.
In a new paper, a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science have demonstrated a display that lets you watch 3-D films in a movie theater without extra eyewear.
Dubbed "Cinema 3D", the prototype uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable viewers to watch a 3-D movie from any seat in a theater.
"Existing approaches to glasses-free 3-D require screens whose resolution requirements are so enormous that they are completely impractical," says MIT professor Wojciech Matusik, one of the co-authors on a related paper. "This is the first technical approach that allows for glasses-free 3D on a large scale."
While the researchers caution that the system isn't currently market-ready, they are optimistic that future versions could push the technology to a place where theaters would be able to offer glasses-free alternatives for 3-D movies.
Among the paper's co-authors are MIT research technician Mike Foshey; former CSAIL postdoc Piotr Didyk; and two Weizmann researchers that include professor Anat Levin and PhD student Netalee Efrat, who was first author on the paper. Efrat will present the paper at this week's SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference in Anaheim, California.
How it works
Glasses-free 3-D already exists, but not in a way that scales to movie theaters. Traditional methods for TV sets use a series of slits in front of the screen (a "parallax barrier") that allow each eye to see a different set of pixels, creating a simulated sense of depth.
But because parallax barriers have to be at a consistent distance from the viewer, this approach isn't practical for larger spaces like theaters that have viewers at different angles and distances.
Other methods, including one from the MIT Media Lab, involve developing completely new physical projectors that cover the entire angular range of the audience. However, this often comes at a cost of reduced image resolution.
The key insight with Cinema 3D is that people in movie theaters move their heads only over a very small range of angles limited by the width of their seat. Thus, it is enough to display a narrow range of angles and replicate it to all seats in the theater.
What Cinema 3D does, then, is encode multiple parallax barriers in one display, such that each viewer sees a parallax barrier tailored to their position. That range of views is then replicated across the theater by a series of mirrors and lenses within Cinema 3D's special optics system.
"With a 3-D TV, you have to account for people moving around to watch from different angles, which means that you have to divide up a limited number of pixels to be projected so that the viewer sees the image from wherever they are," says Gordon Wetzstein, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University who was not involved in the research. "The authors [of Cinema 3D] cleverly exploited the fact that theaters have a unique set-up in which every person sits in a more or less fixed position the whole time."
The team demonstrated that their approach allows viewers from different parts of an auditorium to see images of consistently high resolution.
Cinema 3D isn't particularly practical at the moment: the team's prototype requires 50 sets of mirrors and lenses, and yet is just barely larger than a pad of paper. Matusik says that the team hopes to build a larger version of the display and to further refine the optics to continue to improve the image resolution.
"It remains to be seen whether the approach is financially feasible enough to scale up to a full-blown theater," says Matusik. "But we are optimistic that this is an important next step in developing glasses-free 3-D for large spaces like movie theaters and auditoriums."
Adam Conner-Simons | EurekAlert!
Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore
Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences