3D Mobile Phones

My latest article for TheFeature is about 3D displays for mobile devices, no glasses required:
In 1953, moviegoers experienced a new dimension in fear, or at least campy horror, with the release of House of Wax. The Vincent Price shockfest was the first 3D feature produced by a major film studio. Unfortunately though, director André de Toth couldn't fully enjoy his own creation. The 3D illusion depended on binocular vision, but de Toth only had one eye.

In some ways today, we're all faced with the same problem. Mobile devices are now equipped with 3D graphics chips to bring a heightened sense of realism to the small screen. Videogame designers are cranking out dazzling 3D experiences that will soon put the playpower of a console in our pockets. The rub, though, is that the vast majority of our displays are stranded in flatland.

"Most games and many other applications are written in 3D although the final image is shown in 2D," says Ian Thompson, director of business development at Sharp Laboratories of Europe. "In nature humans see the world in 3D and yet we have become accustomed to seeing flat images"

That may be true today, but researchers in many laboratories, including Sharp's, have their eyes set on the next generation of 3D technology. If mobile displays are necessarily limited by length and width, the only option is to increase their depth. And unlike the 3D movies of yesterday (and even today), the new 3D displays don't require any special eyewear.