iPad2 in 3D? Coming Sooner Than You Think.
Lately, nearly every corner of the electronics market has become saturated with 3D technology. Smartphones, televisions, computers and video games are being swept up in the rush to bring what was once a movie theater novelty into your home.
Most of the buzz has centered on new display technologies, such as the parallax barrier displays that now power the Nintendo 3DS and the HTC EVO 3D smartphone. The idea is actually simple, even if the delivery method isn’t quite so easy to comprehend. The display actually projects two different perspectives of the same image, using a series of precisely defined openings layered on the display to force each eye of the viewer to see the content from a slightly different angle.
As these new displays are being integrated into scores of devices, a new niche market seems to be forming to bring 3D technology to existing devices. Recently, The Engineering Human-Computer Interaction (EHCI) research group, based in France, has come up with a fairly ingenious method to simulate 3D on existing 2D displays. Their technique utilizes the front facing cameras that are found in devices such as the iPad2 and the iPhone (to name a few) to track the motion of the viewer’s head with spatially aware software. The data from the software then allows the device to alter the display angle on the fly to show the viewer the perspective of the screen that is appropriate to their current position, relative to the device.
Currently, the technique is still in the development phase, but based upon the demonstration video it may not be long before the current generation of mobile devices are able to offer 3D with no additional hardware. If the technique is as convincing as it appears, hardware manufacturers may need to re-evaluate their plans to introduce 3D to new devices, because someone may have already beaten them to the punch.