It is a bit odd, isn’t it? That while so many of us enjoy going to see a 3D movie for its special effects, one thing that a lot of us tend to loathe about the entire experience is that we have to put on those glasses: those silly-looking, ill-fitting, sometimes extremely annoying glasses that we have to wear the entire time so that it won’t appear as if we’re seeing double while we’re watching the film; so that we can actually enjoy the special effects of the movie.
Sometimes, those glasses are such an irritant that we find ourselves missing little vital pieces of the film because we’re trying to keep them from digging into the back of our heads or sliding down from the top of our noses.
There are people in “technological time’s past” who have attempted (first) to make a more convenient pair of 3D eyeglasses and (second) to even create a way where they would not even be necessary to use, but so far, no one has been successful. However, thanks to a team of researchers in South Korea, we may be closer to enjoying a glasses-free 3D movie than we’ve ever been.
The reason why we see doubled-up images without our glasses on in a 3D movie is because while we’re in the movie theater, we are actually watching two movies playing at once; there are two different projectors that are playing at the exact same time behind us. In order to enjoy a 3D effect eyewear free, there would need to be a certain kind of projector that is placed behind the movie screen itself. For most theaters, that is a really expensive effort that most cannot afford to do.
This new invention is seeking to resolve this matter. Here’s how: By using a special kind of array—something that is considered to be a fairly simple kind of optical technology, once it is placed in front of the projector, it actually is able to polarize the light that hits it. When that happens, a filter that covers the movie screen then obscures various vertical regions of the screen. This gives the appearance of tiny slants, almost like how venetian blinds look while hanging in a window. When your eyes look at the screen with these kinds of effects on it, some of the screen appears to be blocked while other parts of it appear to be visible, based on the angle that you are looking at it. Without us consciously noticing it, the movie has our left eye and right eye interleaved with one another in vertical columns. The focus then is to make the light that is visible to our left eye contain the pixels of the left eye and the light that is visible to the right eye do the same.
If it sounds a bit complicated, that’s understandable. If it were easier, this probably would have been invented eons ago. But if the bottom line means that we can go to see 3D action films and kid’s cartoons eyeglass-free, then that’s all that really matters, right?
Seeing is believing. Even when it is an optical illusion…preferably without the corny eyewear.