Sharp shows off HD 3D camera for mobile phones

Sharp recently announced it’s working on a new 3D camera module that will be able to provide high-definition 3D video in consumer gadgets.

The new Sharp technology, which captures video in 720p, could be used in smartphones, digital cameras, MP3 players, and similar gadgets for the consumer industry.  The new module uses two lenses and two CMOS image sensors, but Sharp didn’t offer specifics into how the technology worked.

Sharp shows off HD 3D camera for mobile phones

The module captures the images and uses color, timing synchronization, and optical axis to help turn captured images from both camera sensors into a single 3D video.  It won’t dramatically increase the cost of mobile phones due to subsidized prices — but could increase the cost of other gadgets — so consumers will need to be observant.

Consumers may prefer 1080p over 720p in TVs, but 720p is a good first step for HD video in smartphones, MP3 players, and other consumer products.

The popular format is expanding to HDTVs, Blu-ray players, projectors, handheld gaming units, and similar devices.  Specifically, Sharp may begin to use the module in 3D LCD monitors and TVs now that the Japanese company has seen interest in developing its 3D business unit.

This is a solid first step by Sharp, and I think the company may be rewarded if this new module is integrated into more consumer products that don’t have HD capability.  It is already developing a no-glasses 3D touchscreen LCD for use in mobile devices, and has outlined its 3D plans early last month.

It’s an interesting transition for a company that initially doubted the short-term feasibility of 3D production.