MIT’s “Cinema 3D” allows viewers to watch 3-D Movie in Theater without wearing Glasses.

MIT’s “Cinema 3D” allows viewers to watch 3-D Movie in Theater without wearing Glasses.


A team from MIT and Israel have demonstrated
a display that lets audiences 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. According to the researchers, this is the
first technical approach that allows for glasses-free 3-D 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. 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 allows 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 lower 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 images to a narrow range of angles
and replicate that 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. The team demonstrated that their approach
allows viewers from different parts of an auditorium to see images of consistently high
resolution.

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