Think stereoscopic 3D screens are cool? Wait til you hear about a new three-dimensional display technology developed by HP Labs. MIT's Technology Report has the goods on a prototype display that uses nanoscale wizardry to produce holographic images.
The display is actually based on a conventional LCD, which normally employs randomly scattered bumps to spread white light. HP researchers replaced those bumps with nanopatterned grooves that split the light into its RGB components and fire those rays in specific directions. These so-called "directional pixels" create 3D images that can be seen from multiple viewpoints. You can check out the prototype in action in the video below.
According to Technology Review, the number of directional pixels determines the number of viewpoints from which the image can be seen. The researchers have reportedly been able to maintain a static image across 200 viewpoints and 30 FPS video over 64 viewpoints. Right now, the limiting factor is said to be difficulty of pairing the backlight with the nanopatterned shutters in the lab.
Project lead David Fattal claims this kind of 3D screen should be easy to manufacture due to its reliance on LCD technology. The fact that the screens can be made completely transparent and just one millimeter thick definitely adds to their appeal. There's no timeline for commercialization, though, an no word on what sort of resolutions are possible. You can read more about the technology in this Nature article, which includes several other videos.
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