No Glasses Needed 3D Viewing to be Showcased in Japan

Japanese projector developers are set to showcase new technology that makes 3D images viewable without the need for cumbersome glasses. Researchers at Keio University are preparing to unveil the projector to the public at the Digital Content Expo 2010 being held in Tokyo later this week.

Lead developmer, Professor Susumu Tachi, said the technology uses special reflecting equipment to project an image from 42 different viewpoints simultaneously, creating a floating 3D image in the middle of a case about 50 centimetres square in size.

Furthermore, by using a camera to track the position of the viewer's finger, which has a belt strapped onto it that expands and shrinks as appropriate, the development will give viewers a feeling that they are touching and moving the objects. In an advance press demonstration on Monday, an image of a girl cartoon character was projected and moved around by the demonstrator.

Professor Tachi said, "In the future, we will be able to use the technology for such applications as virtual exhibits at museums and shopping catalogues."

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RePro3D is a full-parallax 3D display system suitable for interactive 3D applications. The approach is based on a retro-reflective projection technology in which several images from a projector array are displayed on a retro-reflective screen. When viewers look at the screen through a half mirror, they see a 3D image superimposed on the real scene without glasses.

RePro3D has a sensor function to recognize user input, so it can support some interactive features, such as manipulation of 3D objects. To display smooth motion parallax, the system uses a high-density array of projection lenses in a matrix on a high-luminance LCD.

The array is integrated with an LCD, a half mirror, and a retro-reflector as a screen. An infrared camera senses user input.

By Nick Thompson, Projector Point