New Tech Makes 3D Glasses Obsolete?


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed new film screen technology that allows for the watching of 3D films and presentations without the need for standard 3D glasses. It has been named Cinema 3D and the MIT researchers developed the new screen technology with researchers for the Weizmann Institute based in Israel. The technology was developed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).

Wojciech Matusik, an MIT professor and one of the lead authors of the project, stated that, “Existing approaches to glasses free 3D require screens whose resolution requirements are so enormous that they are impractical. This is the first technical approach that allows for glasses free 3D on a large scale.”

The researchers are readily admitting that the technology is far from being brought to market, but they are confident that this technology will be the future of seeing 3D films on movie screen theaters without the aid of the bulky glasses.

Technology known as parallax barrier has allowed for glasses free TV but with some restrictions. The technology forces the eyes to view individual pixels through the application of a series of slits. For a 3D television viewer to get the full effect, they must be sitting an exact certain distance away from the screen and they have to be sitting right in front of the screen. What the researchers at MIT’s CSAIL did, was to develop screens with several parallax barriers which now allows for viewers to see the 3D effect from anywhere in the theater. They had to develop the screens because the television technology simply would not scale to something as large as a movie theater screen.


The only working model, right now, is about the size of a hand held tablet. The unit also has quite a few different lenses and mirrors for it to work properly. Another option being researched at MIT is the development of film projectors that will actually take into account the movement and angular range of the audience’s heads. The challenge is, however, is that this approach will lessen the quality of the images produced.

The key will be able to project the images to a specific small range of movement. Movie theater goers will only tend to move their heads within the range of their seat. So, what is needed is to send those images to that tiny range of motion and try and replicate that projection to every seat in the theater. This will result in a parallax barrier being specifically designed for each of the viewers in the theater. By doing this, a viewer can sit anywhere in the theater and get a consistent quality of images to view.

“It remains to be seen,” said Matusik, “whether the approach is financially feasible enough to scale up to a full blown theater. But, we are optimistic that this is an important next step in developing glasses free 3D for larger spaces like movie theaters and auditoriums.”

Mr. Sawyer is a freelance writer, editor and journalist from Tampa. He has written thousands of articles for hundreds of magazines and news sites on countless topics including science, the media and technology. He is also the author of many white papers, special reports and ebooks covering a wide range of subjects.
Kevin Sawyer
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