Hewlett-Packard Developing Glasses-Free 3D Technology For Mobile Devices

Hewlett-Packard is developing 3D technology that would introduce glasses-free 3D video on mobile devices, with a viewing angle so wide that viewers can see an object just by tilting the screen.

Using nanotechnology, HP researchers created tiny circles with grooves cut into a glass layer of a display, the Associated Press reports via San Jose Mercury News. The grooves bend light in a way that allows for 64 different points of view. By moving the screen, people will perceive two of those points of view at any one time, one with their left eye and one with their right, so the image will appear in 3D.

Images would be viewed in 3D at angles up to 45 degrees from center in any direction and would not require glasses.

The research will be detailed in the scientific journal Nature published this week. David Fattal, the lead author of the paper, said the effect is similar to the hologram of Princess Leia in "Star Wars" but not exactly identical — the images won't extend as far out of the screen as Leia's projection.

While moving images can be created using computer animation, any live video capture would require an array of 64 cameras all pointed at an object, Fattal added.

Nintendo's 3DS game console has glasses-free 3D but players have to look straight into the screen with their noses centered.

3D technology has made its way onto theater screens but the excitement has fizzled recently — probably because the hefty glasses are a nuisance.

The newest hullabaloo in 3D, however, is about 3D printing. While it could be used to replace missing limbs, the new technology has also run into resistance when applied to making 3D guns. As we reported last week, controversy erupted over one company's plans to re-create semi-automatic rifles, with 3D printer manufacturers MakerBot and Stratasys opposed to the idea. 

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