During a recent press conference in Japan, electronics company Sharp said it developed a new 3D touchscreen LCD that doesn’t require viewers to wear special glasses.
Sharp was able to develop 3D screens without the need for glasses by using parallax barriers: in somewhat normal terms, both transmissive and non-transmissive columns are used to trick the brain’s visual cortex into see three dimensions when viewed from different angles.
As mentioned by other media reports, there is a concern that any Sharp 3D product can be held at a wrong angle, which provides a somewhat blurry image. Despite its possible drawbacks, the new screen — with a current maximum size of 3.4-inches — could one day be used in mobile phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, and other popular portable electronics.
Sharp plans to begin mass production of the no-glasses 3D screen during the first half of 2010, with an unknown release date. The Japanese electronics company believes up to 50% of its screens can be 3D-enabled before 2012.
I like this Sharp development, but am concerned it could become too much work to try and watch content in 3D.
The industry expects a significant interest in 3D products, but consumers have reported a lack of interest in wearing custom glasses while watching content. For consumers with deeper pockets, expect designer glasses to be available in 2010. Several companies already have 3DTVs available in North America, with a growing interest in 3D Blu-ray players as well.
If the past six months proves anything, it’s that consumers can expect an explosion in 3D product launches and marketing throughout 2010 and 2011. The cost of 3D technology will likely remain high as the industry develops, but consumers will be able to see a wider variety of products to choose from.