SAN FRANCISCO-It's pretty hard to get people-busy New Yorkers, in particular-to stop in their tracks on the sidewalk to look at an advertising display. Let's face it, much of New York City is an advertising opportunity.
Yet a single 42-inch LED display screen in the window of an unoccupied retail store on Seventh Avenue and 50th Street in Manhattan is causing groups of people to stop, look and wonder.
The display shows looped videos of a rotating Snickers bar and a moving Intel logo. What makes this different is it is a three-dimensional display that doesn't require viewers to wear those annoying red-and-blue glasses to see the 3D effect.
It really looks like the Snickers bar is being handed to you through the screen, and as if you can reach out and touch the Intel logo. The experience is like looking through a window.
The company that has spent 13 years developing this technology, Alioscopy, has finally come to the point where its R&D can be used in prime time. It's called autostereoscopic 3D display, and-as witnessed by a growing number of other observers-it works very well.
Autostereoscopic 3D is best viewed from a distance of 10 to 30 feet. The moving images consist of an unlimited number of layers; they are rendered on a regular high-resolution screen from eight different horizontal points of view and photographed in a half-circle at equidistant intervals, using the Alioscopy technology. A special proprietary lenticular lens attached to the LCD display completes the autostereoscopic effect.
When viewing autostereoscopic 3D, there are so-called "sweet spots" for the viewer, where he or she sees very clear 3D images. In between the sweet spots, viewers see the stereoscopic image appear to morph from one place on the screen to another in the film sequence. However, it is not enough to degrade the experience. Once one becomes accustomed to autostereoscopic 3D, it is a huge improvement over regular stereoscopic 3D-and even over high-definition video.
Autostereoscopic 3D is starting to open new markets for digital signage, advertising, medical and design visualization, gaming, concerts, and trade shows and events-and could even be a way for cinemas to promote upcoming stereoscopic 3D films in their lobbies without having to issue 3D glasses.