Table Top 3D

At SID 2010 in Seattle, I saw a clever demonstration. Syndiant wanted to demonstrate how their pocket projector could be used to create a stereoscopic 3D image. So one of their engineers duct taped two of them together, put different polarizers across each lens, aligned the images, and voila! It was a very effective 3D projector that worked with passive glasses.

So that was a cool way to get 3D from a pocket projector. And then along came this:

This is a table top display that creates a 3D image that you can view without glasses. In theory, it can create an image that you can walk around. In this demonstration from NICT’s Keihanna Research Labs, it only can be viewed across a 120-degree range. In order to create the image, the display uses 96 individual pocket projector engines, each aimed at a specially-designed funnel-shaped device that creates an image that appears to float above the table.

Now consider this; a standard 3DTV simply has two images. One is for the left eye, and the other for the right. This table requires 96 separate images. Start showing a full motion image at 30 frames per second, and you’re talking about 2,880 images per second. If you expand this to the full 360-degree viewing range, it balloons to 8,640 images per second. At full HD resolution, that’s 18 billion pixels per second. Figure 24 bits of color per pixel, and you’re up to more than 140 gigabytes of data per second. So while this is a clever creation, we’ve got a ways to go before we can have a system that could support a full motion HD version of this concept.

The researchers envision a way to use this to simulate a sports field projected into a stadium so you could watch your home team play in 3D even when they are playing out of town. I’m not betting against the concept, but I don’t expect to see it any time soon. (You can read more about this in an article at