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3D LCD's for Sale 83

Hollinger writes "Dimension Technologies, Inc. has created and is selling LCD displays that yield true 3D images without tracking hardware. 'No Glasses. No Headtrackers. No Eyestrain. No Compromise. No Kidding,' according to their Web site. " I'll believe it when I see it, but can you imagine playing Everquest or something on this thing?
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3D LCD's for Sale

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  • Everquest would definitely be slick, but would this thing be fast enough to keep up with Q3Arena ? What kind of refresh rates can we pull out of LCD these days ?
  • ...somone could devise some way for a user to interact with that in realtime to chage what they see. 3D Quake, here we come...
  • Wow... they're kinda doing for video what Aureal has been trying to do with 3-D sound. A shame they didn't post any prices on the page...

    I always thought that the latest work with blue lasers and holograms would be the forerunners of this type of 3-D display technology, but I guess I was wrong.

  • If you go to the "mission" link, you will see in the time line that the 12" version was introduced in 1997 while the larger 15" and 18" versions were introduced in 1998.
    So it is surprising that manufacturers have not yet picked up that technology. Maybe it is not that good after all? While it is understandable that DTI does not want to give out technical details, it makes me sceptical not to know even the basic idea of how it works.
  • This has been featured on slashdot at least once. []. maybe even Twice. []
  • Apparently this works by creating some kind of array of bumps on the screen so that one eye sees one image and the other eye sees a different image. My guess is that your head has to in just the right position or it won't work. You would probably have to program the game specially for 3D. If this isn't how it works, could someone please explain it to me, because this is the best I can come up with after reading their website?
  • It looks like complete marketing propaganda to me. There is absolutely no mention of how the actual technology works, or how the 3-d image is generated or displayed. Until I can see and read about the technical aspects, I have to regard this as 'yet another overhyped 3-D display technology' that doesn't actually work. I'm darn curious how they intend to get the appearance of depth out of a flat display without somehow getting different pictures to each eye.

    I mean really, just how many press releases like this have you seen? I've seen quite a few. Don't go spending your money yet.

    Has anyone actually used this kind of display before? Does anyone know what makes this special, or better than existing 3-D display devices?

    -dennis towne
  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Saturday February 19, 2000 @09:32AM (#1259481) Homepage
    Ahh, the Russians have had these capabilities for years, its called "clay pottery" and involves the realtime molding of clay by a team of russians who hide behind your monitor.

    The U.S. could have had this working long ago if they hadn't cut their spending on high speed kiln research. [] - Funny
  • Under the news section there are a few articles which give a brief rundown on how it works. Here's one description. _Floats_3D_Models_In_Air.html

    I'm wondering, how does this system deal with people with different eye spacings? I would guess that your distance from the monitor must make a difference too. I hope the spacing between the illumination lines is adjustable.

  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Saturday February 19, 2000 @09:32AM (#1259483)
    The Human Interfaces Technology Lab [] at U Washington has some cool projects going on.

    The one I thought was really neat are their Virtual Retinal Displays [] which can scan a 3D image directly onto your retinas using tiny lasers. That would rock for Unreal TE.

  • by fingal ( 49160 ) on Saturday February 19, 2000 @09:33AM (#1259484) Homepage
    They say on their products page that they are using a 60Hz refresh rate which is using "LCD technology, which is inherently flicker-free".

    Apparently the revie w in []Machine Design [] says that "The screen uses a liquid-crystal display and an illumination plate. The LCD generates translucent colors while the plate carries light lines or pencil-thin light generators that run the height of the unit and are spaced on a two-pixel pitch. The plate also holds lenticular lenses that direct light at a slight angle. The LCDs are wired so that every other column displays image information intended for a viewer's left eye and the other columns for the right. In the current design, both halves of a stereo pair are displayed simultaneously. Several people can view stereo images at once.".

    This sort of makes more sense if you see the diagrams on the page, but I would have thought that it would require you to be pretty much directly in front of the screen and viewing it at a perpendicular angle, (from a certain distance) otherwise you are going to start receiving the wrong information to each eye.

    However, once you have it calibrated for your eye seperation, I see no reason why you shouldn't get really strong stereoscopic images. When's the next trade show near Brussels so I can try it out?

    Interesting side point: The press on this form of 3d vision on their web site dates back to 1994 so it's not exactly cutting edge (unless they've recently undergone a quantum leap forwards and I haven't picked up on this from the site).

  • Does the fact that they are clameing to be able to do something revolutionary but give not specific details make anyone wonder about how well this works. 3D is one of those things that can be done poorly or can be done well, but I have this nagging feeling that if they had it working well they would say a little more about its effects. This sort of thing just makes me suspicious
  • I posted this as a reply above, but people keep asking.

    They give a brief mention of how it works under a few of the articles in the news section. Here's one: _Floats_3D_Models_In_Air.html

  • The bigest flaw I see with these is that they're still analog. Anyone who has ever used a digital panel (such as the SGI 1600SW) knows the advantage of digital, and its precise positioning of pixels on the screen. This would be crucial to the ability of something like this to function adequately.
  • everytime i try to connect to their servers i get an error "Server returned file with no content" anyone else getting this?
  • I saw something similar at a medical imaging conference last week. It seems they use a sheet of lenses over the LCD to break each pixel into a left and right and mix the origional stereo images in the frame buffer so that when projected through the lenses the images diverted in different directions. The geometry was calculated using an average observer, at an average distance from the screen. Maybe this is similar technology.
  • I would assume that when your game renders its 2d projection for the 3d image, it will do two passes with the virtual camera positions slightly offset to give the two images for each eye. These images would then be combined into a single image using techniques such as "column interleaved, field sequential/row interleaved, side-by-side, top-and-bottom, and cross-eyed". Their software would then split it into it's two seperate images and deal with passing these two images to the hardware.

    Hopefully there would be a slightly lower level drive the screen at which would then permit decent framerates, because this route would involve excessive amounts of needless conversion from one format to another (it was just the only obvious way I could see from the information on the website).

    Off course, in an ideal world, you'd take your G400 and you would connect each output....


  • by pb ( 1020 )
    If that works, I want it now! :)

    That sure beats mirrors, but I guess you'd still have to get a "3-D!" digital camera with two lenses, and whatnot, just to take pictures. And movies would be fun, but take up at least 2-3 times the bandwidth.

    Oh well. One small step for LCD's, one giant leap for Virtual Reality!
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • Objects near the edge of the screen would lose the 3rd dimension (because of the delta between the left and right images displayed on the screen), so wouldn't a 3d scene have an annoying fuzzy area around the entire edge of the screen that gives you a headache? -Ellis
  • l/3dlcd/tech/tech.htm

  • I could be mistaken, but it sounds like a different type of technology to me.

    whatever works, i want a 3D IMAX equivalent experience on my computer, dammit!

  • I can see how you'd use this for everyday use - staring at a stereoscopic image all day would have to be pretty tough on the eyes and likely to give you headaches. Any reading of text would probably be terrible.

    Don't get your hopes up. The best you might see are CAD/CAM programs or perhaps use in a few video arcade machines. Either way, you'll still need your regular monitor for the majority of your work.

  • As others have mentioned, this isn't a brand new
    innovation, and to quell some of the anti-hype
    I thought I should mention that there was a display of 3D Flat Panel LCD screens at the CN-Tower in Toronto a couple of years ago, back
    when they had Q-Zar in the basement.

    Unfortunatly I can't remember the name/logo that
    was stuck on them, but I wouldn't be suprised if
    it was Honda. (Seriously) Could just as easily
    been Hitachi or Sony or any of the other tech
    firms that value R&D.

    To echo a few of the other comments, they were
    of a "polarized" design, where the angle between
    your eyes gave each one a slightly shifted field
    of view. The best image was obtained by standing
    a short distance away and being centered on the

    I was impressed, the video that was used as a demo included white-water rafting, the illusion only
    spoiled when water droplets hit the case containing the cameras as they were too "close"
    so the "depth" perception was distorted.

  • Perhaps I misunderstand your remarks about the "delta" thing, but could you not make the same argument about the 3D image you see looking out a window? I don't get a headache from any fuzzy area around the edges of a window.
    Patrick Doyle
  • 2-3 Times the bandwith? If you're working with only 2 camera's, I'd expect 1.5-2 times the bandwith. (Because compression would work quite well, because the two images would be pretty similar).
  • I used to take a lot of lenticular 3D pictures for fun, and I always thought that with digital LCD screens it would be easy to do no-glasses 3D video with that technology, if you could get the right density of lenticular film to match the screen's dot-pitch. I'm surprised it's taken them this long, but maybe it's because LCD screens are still way too expensive.

    Bragging about not needing a head-tracker is silly, it's a limitation, not an advantage (unless their device does some kind of funky position-sensing on your head, which I doubt). But it should be functionally equivalent to a monitor with shutter-glasses so I suppose you could add a head tracker if you wanted to. You'd have to keep your head vertical for it to work though.

    This technique is also limited to pretty low resolutions, which is fine for consumers like me but I wonder if they can make it cheap enough. I think the holographic-film technique has more promise for higher-end applications.

    Finally a funny quote from the Philips 3D page:

    "Multiview 3D-LCD as developed by Philips is truly
    autostereoscopic because it requires no artificial devices,"
  • This looks really neat, to say the least. They don't mention a price, though. It's probably well above $1000, seeing as it's basically a flat-panel display with calibrated backlighting and fancy circuitry.

    Soo many applications... I could probably rig POV-ray [] to do spiffy 3d with it, it would rock for 3d games (well, maybe not.. it seems like you have to keep your head straight, not something that happens often when gaming), it might also be good for VRML... Ooh the possibilities...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2000 @11:56AM (#1259510)
    If you want to know "how it works", you can read their patents.

    Instead of giving you a giant results URL, I'll explain how to do it:

    • Go to US Patents & Trademark Office [].
    • Select Patents.
    • Select Search US Patent Databases (it's big, it's red, it likes like a title rather than a clickable item!)
    • Select Boolean Search.
    • Search for Dimension Technologies in the Assignee Name field (when an engineer works for a company, the usual deal is that the engineer agrees to assign patent rights to the company in partial consideration for the salary they get. The company is the assignee and this is the primary way companies come to own patents).
    • Read the patents.

    I'm not enough of a hardware guy to understand how this display actually works, but maybe someone here can comment on that!

  • While this sounds really cool (and it may be one day), for now, nothing works with it. For best effects, you need to encode anything with 2 cameras. To program Quake to use this, just imagine what it would be like. That and it is just analog makes it fairly uninteresting as far as I am concerned. Note, at least the thing has a 2D/3D button so you won't ruin your eyes on reading funky looking text.
  • If this is nothing but a lenticular screen in front of an LCD panel, then the "technology" has been around forever and the "quality" is every bit as wonderful as a cheesy 3D postcard. You won't need a head-tracking device because, to play Quake on it, you're going to want to strap your head to a board.

    Talk about a "triumph of marketing"...

  • by jafuser ( 112236 ) on Saturday February 19, 2000 @12:41PM (#1259513)
    I saw a demo of this kind of technology at Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center in Innoventions, at least 2 years ago (probably more like 3).

    Hammacher Schlemmer had a booth there, and showed a 3D video of people kyaking down a river. You didn't need glasses, and you had to stand in just the right place to eliminate the moire-like interference effects caused by the way it did the 3D, but it did work.

    It was cool, but I'd personally prefer to wear some lightweight 3D glasses rather than ensure I'm always in the exact position to get the full 3D effect. However, I don't know why we haven't seen at least a few of these for sale by now, as I imagine they would have their niche.

  • In UT, there are still plenty of 2d sprites. The most obvious is the sniper scope. I know quite a lot of people who have played UT with 3d glasses and they all say that using the sniper rifle with 3d glasses sucks because it tries to overlay a 2d sprite on a 3d world so though you think you have targetted someone, when you actually fire, the shot is miles away from the actual target. It is so annoying that those whom I knew gave up on the glasses in UT.
  • staring at a stereoscopic image all day would have to be pretty tough on the eyes

    I don't know about you, but I look at steroscopic images all the time. Pretty much whenever I'm not looking at a screen or reading a book or something.


  • by drx ( 123393 ) on Saturday February 19, 2000 @01:08PM (#1259516) Homepage
    The Heinrich-Hertz-Institute [] has released some detailed papers about projection technology like this a long time ago. Especially interesting is the proposal for an operating system using the stereoscopic image.

    The display []
    Something about the Operating System [] for the screen.

    press release [] about all this.

    It's from 1997 actually
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    You'd be working with two or three cameras.

    The compressed file size might be 1.5-2 times the size still, but the raw file size would not be, and neither would the bandwidth.

    (decompress file, write three images to memory == bandwidth) Unfortunately, bandwidth is an overloaded word these days. :)
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • Everquest and Q3A nothin'.... I want one of these for those late-night NetHack sessions.
    If Voin the Male Elven Ranger is going to be Killed in Orion's Camp by a Hallucinogen-Distorted Winged Gargoyle, I want to see it in 3D!
    "Ladies and gentlemen, this is NPR! And that's time for a drum solo!"
  • just imagine the usefulness of these LCDs on a palm. that would be pretty cool...

    visit the Guidelight Project []
  • So, is this sort of like an LCD hologram?
  • This same thing has applied to 3D imaging for audio systems for years. Someone announces incredible realism that bites you on the earlobes and then you find out your head has to be placed in a sweet spot the size of a grapefruit in order to hear the effect.

    I sometimes wear prisms to compensate for a lazy eye. You quickly realize that the whole vision thing is a lot more complicated than the doctor lets on. First of all, there is a chromatic effect where red and blue colours are on focal plains 5mm apart (at monitor distance). Then there is the fact that the two lenses have a different field size because my near-sightedness is slightly different in each eye--which further complicates the problems I have keeping my eyes pointed in the same direction.

    I'll believe in these new technologies when the description is precise enough that I can calculate what effect my prisms would have when viewing these screens.
  • Judging from the scanty info they give, the information a pixel gives is meant for one eye only. That means that your head would have to be bolted in place for it to ever work, seeing as that it is impossible to keep your head absolutely still without help.

    Furthermore, they would have to paralyze your eyemuscles, as the eyes tend to move all over the place without you even realizing it. Even at such a course resolution, involuntary eye movements of about a mm would disrupt the careful setup.

    These measures of course would only work if everyone's head would be the same size, seeing as that different head-sizes tend to lead to different distances between the eyes (the distance between the left eye and the right eye, and the distorted projection each eye receives because of this, is what leads to 3D vision). Of course this problem could be solved by configuring the display for each user individually.

  • ActiveWorlds, I guess formerly is AlphaWorlds IMHO make a good virtual community. I guess if this Gadget is not limited to high end SGI workstations later, boundary between webpages and "webWorld" will be burred. And VRML can live off to its promises. VRML 2.0 hasn't received too much attention and CosmoPlayer from CosmoSoftware seemed to stop development. This could make VRML alive again.

    Playing Quake seems to be not a big apps, but think about having real tele-presence. Imagine your girlfriend can do "Video" Conference right in front of your eyes ! However I think it is still a long way to beam a 3D object and render it 2000 miles away.

    Personally I am amazed by this LCD so much. I have been to Siggraph 99 LA and I saw there is a Crystal Ball-like device developed from Germany. (Can somebody get the URL?) They paint a wire-frame object with Laser. In contrast, this LCD can render real objects.

    Quoted from Wired News :

    • "In 20 years, I'd like to have people walk into a virtual room that would engage all your senses, hearing, touch, and smell".

    I just want to see my honey in 3D, not with that Netmeeting thing in the size of stamp.

  • I guess it all depends whether you want to stream it... :-)
  • What will this do for file size? Could you have a 3-D JPEG? Is the depth good enough to describe, say, your average set of Baywatch boobs?
  • They'll probably improve that though. The first Color LCDs were hard to see from an angle too.
  • For true stereo sound, you must stand in the middle of the speakers.. or wear the lightweight headphones and move as you wish...

    but now with our quadriphonic systems we can move about quite freely and still get a good effect~

    now apply this to current video technology.. it's on "mono"!
  • Form a fortune:

    Dear Mister Language Person: What is the purpose of the apostrophe?

    Answer: The apostrophe is used mainly in hand-lettered small business
    signs to alert the reader than an "S" is coming up at the end of a
    ANY ITEM'S. Another important grammar concept to bear in mind when
    creating hand- lettered small-business signs is that you should put
    quotation marks around random words for decoration, as in "TRY" OUR HOT
    DOG'S, or even TRY "OUR" HOT DOG'S.
    -- Dave Barry, "Tips for Writer's"

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Saturday February 19, 2000 @11:39PM (#1259537) Journal
    I saw a demonstration of a simple hack to convert a laptop to do this at a conference a few years back. (Cost: About 15 cents.)

    You make a moire plate by hacking up a postscript program to draw thin lines across a page with a spacing of half the pixel spacing on your LCD panel. (Tune the program as necessary to get the spacing right.) Print it on an overhead-projector transparency and mount it over your LCD display.
    Each eye sees half the scan lines, with the other half are blocked by the black stripes. One eye gets one half, the other eye the other half.

    You typically have to rotate the display a quarter turn, because the typical display has vertical color stripes, so using it in the normal position will give you half the colors, rather than half the scanlines, into each eye.

    In addition to having the right spacing on the plate (very slightly closer together than twice the line spacing), and the right distance from the plate to the pixels (which you get by tuning that "slightly" so the plate can sit on the screen, typically with the toner on the side toward your eye), you have to be roughly centered in front of the screen and roughly the right distance from it.

    The obvious improvement(which I've been meaning to do for a couple years, if nobody got around to it commercially - and it looks like these guys did) is to replace the flat plastic sheet with light-absorbent stripes with one with triangular and slightly curved ridges - exactly the sort of plastic stuff you see in those thick, non-holographic pictures, some of which are 3-D, others animated-when-you-move-your-head-or-the-picture. This does the same thing by bending, rather than blocking, the light, so you don't have to waste half of it.
  • I'm wondering, how does this system deal with people with different eye spacings?

    If your eyes are farther apart than the ones the screen was designed for, sit proportionally farther back. Closer together, proportionally closer to the screen.

    Think of the light for the right and left eyes as a pair of beams that diverge from the screen. Farther back, farther apart.

    There's a limit to this, because the screen is wide so there has to be a small difference in the direction of the light as you go from side to side. This results in an approximation of focusing the light at the stock eye locations. So if your eyes are TOO far off the standard, you won't be able to get the whole screen to work right at the same time - if you've got the middle right the edges will start to blurr together. But your eye separation would have to be WAY off the normal for this to happen.
  • Not quite as simple as you state.

    If they had said L.C.D., then the plural is

    If the acronym had ended with an S, then the
    convention is to add an apostrophe.

    So pluralized acronyms sometimes include apostrophes.

    Check out this web page for more info:

    <a r/marks/apostrophe.htm> r/marks/apostrophe.htm</a>
  • This sounds a lot like the `picket fence' method of stereography, which I think was being used far before 1997.... /cologram/index.html [] presents a similar idea, but it uses more than two column-sets, so that one can rotate about the image.
  • There are very few things I could see a screen/GUI like that being useful for. A 3D user interface would suck for any normal office type thing, and a screen with only one viewable point would suck for multiplayer games. I expect this plus eye trackers will find its first main uses in a few specialized engineering terminals, and after that in single-player-game arcade machines.
  • What about those of us who do NOT have stereoscopic vision? The stupid glasses don't work for me. Will this? Somehow I doubt it.

    Ask anyone who was born with a lazy eye. Frequently, even if surgery is done (as it was - twice - in my case), they cannot get it _quite_ perfect. The eyes might _look_ right, but they aren't. Stereoscopic vision (seeing the two images combined as one 3d image) doesn't happen if your eyes are not in the same places in the sockets. I get two images. I tend to block one out unconsciously, and look through the other eye. I've even learned to imitate depth vision like that (I can hit a basketball hoop with the ball even from weird angles - I don't need the backboard, because I use the ground between me and it to get my bearings). Unfortunately, I can't do that for 3d stuff. It has to be really 3d, or all I see is a red (or green) image (or both, one of each, if I'm tired and can't block properly - THAT gets confusing).

    Holograms work though. Hmm... I wonder if there is a way to make a holographic-type screen system? Or is someone working on a different way to make it possible to see 3d, for those of us who don't have the vision for the normal way?

  • If you read the article it explains how it was done. They used a screen in front of the display to generate images that are slightly angled to each eye. Unfortunately you must be a fixed distance from the screen in order for it to work.
    Link to how it works []
  • ...and im going down to theyre office monday morning to see one of these things. i live 10 minutes away hehe
  • That's not always very accurate...

    A lot of companies encourage their employees to patent anything that is vaguely related to their field, in the hopes that it either will be useful to them for future products, or will at least give them another income stream from royalties, even if they never use it themselves. So extrapolating product functionality from a companies patents is sketchy at best - it may just be easier to get the patent and let someone else build it.

  • heh I bet your a freaking riot at parties "cyclops"
  • Copied from BBC's Tommorow's World []

    Unlike traditional three dimensional (3D) television, which uses two cameras simultaneously to give a sense of perspective, this new system uses just one camera, but with a special lens, made up from 2500 tiny micro-lenses. These micro-lenses split the picture into thousands of tiny images, each with a slightly different view of the object. This means the camera is filming from hundreds and hundreds of different angles, all at the same time.

    I have a dominant eye, so I don't use stereoscopic vision. But I saw this on the program and the picture on the 3D TV showed a few geometric shapes at different depths. They moved the camera dolly sideways and it looked like it was completely 3D.

    Another interesting link is: NHK Research labs []

    Captain SpankMunki

    When in danger, or in doubt,
    Run in circles, scream and shout

  • It wouldn't need two camera angles for quake. Quake is already true 3d. It just becomes 2d when it hits your monitor, because we don't have a good 3d display device.

  • Oooooooh...

    *coos happily at that thought*

    Thank you. Hopefully they'll actually come out with them. I'd love to see 3d images on a screen.
    See, now, THIS is cool technology. Using two images is just a copout - actually producing images with different viewpoints from different places is _cool_.

    (When will AC's learn that some 'defects' don't LOOK like anything weird? The strange look to my eyes was gone after the surgery, the imperfection is invisible to the naked eye.(and don't any of you comment on the strange look IN my eyes >:) )


People are always available for work in the past tense.