New 3D Projector that May Improve 2D Projectors, Displays Too
Recently we have seen the return of the 3D fad in our media, though with significantly more advanced technology than the last time it was popular. As advanced as it is though, some things have not changed, including the need for special glasses. Thanks to some research from MIT though, that need may disappear, and we may see some other advances for both 3D and 2D video systems.
Traditionally 3D video has been achieved with the parallax barrier to create stereoscopic 3D. For years though MIT researchers have been developing multiperspective 3D, which actually presents the viewer with new perspectives as they move around an object. The researchers have already applied this approach to build glasses-free 3D displays, but now they have modified the approach to create glasses-free 3D projectors. Both in displays and the projector, multiple liquid crystal modulators are used, and these modulators are similar to the LCDs we are all familiar with. The modulators are placed one in front of the other, between the light source and the lens. With this configuration the researchers are able to control the angles that light reaches the second modulator at with the first. This control is what allows multiperspectives to be encoded into the projection.
While glasses-free 3D is definitely cool, this approach could be used to increase the resolution and contrast of the projectors, without having to replace the lens of use higher resolution modulators. The increased contrast comes from the 'black' states of both modulators combining to block more light, while the increased resolution is a bit trickier. As the light patterns passing through the modulators are offset from each other, they will interfere with each other, and by leveraging the power of GPUs with advanced algorithms, that interference can be used to increase the resolution of an image. The result would be to produce an Ultra HD image from HD components.