Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Watching 3-D Movies Sans Glasses

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Watching 3-D Movies Sans Glasses

Article excerpt

Three-dimensional 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, researchers from MIT and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science describe a way to 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 a 3-D view from any seat in the theater.

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.

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. …

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