Watching 3-D movies generally means suffering through two things: crappy plotlines that favor spectacle over substance and the need to wear some annoying, dorky glasses. Scientists may have solved one of these frustrations. (You might be able to guess which.)
Researchers in South Korea have created a new method that would allow moviegoers to simply sit down and start watching a 3-D movie with no extra gear necessary. The research was published today in Optics Express.
The new method would allow movie theaters to keep their projectors where they’ve always been, behind the audience, and uses fairly simple optical technology. A special array sits in front of the projector and polarizes its light. A filter covering the screen then obscures different vertical regions of the screen, like the slats of venetian blinds. Each of your eyes, sitting at a slightly different angle, has some of the screen blocked and some of the screen visible. The movie has the right-eye and left-eye images interleaved in vertical columns with one another. The trick then is to have the light visible to your left eye contain the left-eye pixels and vice versa for the right eye.