There’s been big buzz at CES about gasses-free 3D TVs, and Johnathan Post seems to have developed a solution to the 3D Glasses problem, while using conventional 3D Active-Shutter display technology:
Aside from being completely freaky to watch, there are some problems with this solution that doesn’t address any of the complaints about active-shutter-based 3D TVs:
- You’re still blocking a portion of the light getting into your eyes, making the picture overall dimmer
- You still need to wear something on your head (only now you look like Geordi LaForge without his VISOR)
- There is still likely flickering
- People without these devices still can’t see the picture (so you need to have enough of these devices for all your viewers)
Then there are all the new potential problems introduced with this solution:
- Instead of charging one set of glasses, you now need to charge an independent pair of devices
- The prototype is pretty small, which makes you question the size of the batteries (and their capacity)
- The size of the prototype also leads to the probability of the devices being more easily lost
- Obviously: eyelid fatigue.
Since this is just a prototype, some of these problems could be solved in the next hardware revision. For example: independent charging of the two pieces and battery size could be solved by tethering the two pieces together, much like some stereo BlueTooth headphones, but this adds weight and increases the size of the device, which could prevent it from being affixed to the skin as demonstrated here. This could be replaced with a circlet, but then you basically have glasses, except your eyes are the shutters, which still leaves the potential problem of eyelid fatigue, and doesn’t really offer much advantage over conventional active shutter glasses, unless their cost is significantly lower than most 3D glasses.
Another problem I noticed, but likely just a problem with the prototype, but the system didn’t deactivate when the demonstrator looked away from the screen. Immediately everyone I showed this video to began planning pranks based around it. I could also see other potential problems, though less intentionally. Like forgetting you’re wearing them and trying to drive with them on, potentially causing visual impairment (related to dimming the real world) or issues with reading electronic displays (like traffic signs, gas station prices, or LED-based traffic lights) because of the refresh rate of those signs isn’t quite compatible with 60+ Hz shutters (leading to incomplete looking images).
I guess the moral of this story is that while this is indeed, technically, “glasses-free,” (or, “no glasses,” as the video is labeled) it doesn’t mean it isn’t “device-free,” that it’s better than the glasses, or that it’s an optimal solution.