News Article

3DS to Employ Parallax Barrier Technology?

Posted by Damien McFerran

New screens offer "perfect 3D"

When Nintendo clumsily announced the 3DS a few days ago we - as well as several other sites - were quick to point out that 3D gaming is already possible on the DSi, to a certain extent. The DSiWare title Rittai Kakushie Attakoreda uses head-tracking to create a fairly convincing impression of 3D.

However, Keith Stuart of the Guardian isn't so sure this will be the case. Having spoken to Andrew Oliver, CTO of UK-based Blitz Games Studios, he's discovered that the 3DS is almost certain to utilise a new screen technology called Parallax Barrier.

Oliver has been quoted as saying that such a display would offer "a perfect 3D display and also can give an excellent 2D display at a touch of a button."

Stuart explains:

In Parallax Barrier displays a slitted layer is placed over a standard LCD screen to separate the image into separate light paths for the viewer's right and left eyes. It's not a new technology. Sharp developed a version for a mobile phone handset eight years ago - and as with the 3DS, it doesn't require glasses. One problem with the technology as a home TV option is that the viewer needs to remain still and central for the effect to work. However, as Oliver points out, "if you know there is only one viewer and they are roughly in front of the display and within a meter, then there are ways to give each eye a different image."

Furthermore, tech site Engadget has reported that Nintendo is almost certainly using such a screen in the new device.

[via guardian.co.uk, engadget.com]

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User Comments (36)

irken004

#1

irken004 said:

Great. Now I need an illustration to understand the illustration about how the tech can work :D

ToastyYogurt

#4

ToastyYogurt said:

Nice. When I first heard about the 3DS I denied the news, thinking something like it couldn't possibly happen, and the fact that it wasn't announced at a press conference seemed proof enough that this was a rumor. But with all this news and everything, it seems I might be wrong. I'm still a bit suspicious, though ;).

moomoo

#5

moomoo said:

The picture shows the light rays from the TV going in different directions. This creates the illusion of 3D.

yoshdude64

#6

yoshdude64 said:

:D That would be good. Playing by yourself? Turn on the 3D. Friends watching the impressive new hardware capabilities? Turn off the 3D and have a portable movie theater (hopefully), however small it may be. :P

M00se

#9

M00se said:

it shows the light rays from each eye going into the screen. this shows how 3d glasses work with the red and blue patterns, but without seeing only in red and blue.

Sylverstone

#11

Sylverstone said:

@HugoSmits: It's believable... for now.

Besides, anything announced on April 1st will be taken as an immediate prank. :p
I don't count that Ninty is faking it because their stocks soared after the announcement.

moomoo

#12

moomoo said:

Now that I think about it, this sucks for anybody that only has one eye. They won't get the effect.

Starkiller

#13

Starkiller said:

This sounds cool, only problem, the screen can't be moved a whole lot, you must be directly facing it... even though you almost always would be, it's probably gonna psych me... :P
Cool diagram, first I thought 3D without glasses wasn't possible, now I guess it makes sense... (yes I am a nerd)
One more plus, this will make playing roms next to impossible! :)
Edit: One thing I don't get though, is how it can be displayed in normal 2D without separate programming for each game.

Kirk

#15

Kirk said:

I'm near 100% certain this is the tech Nintendo is going to use and possibly in combination with the built in camera too so that it can use that information to track the player's head and adjust the parallax barrier accordingly so it's difficult to move out of the 3D zone and ruin the effect.

By the way, I think the image above is slightly wrong and the one in the post I'm about to link is possibly more accurate:

http://uk.gamespot.com/pages/forums/show_msgs.php?topic_id=27236131

There's also some more info in that post that is quite useful to understand what Nintendo is likely doing with their 3D tech.

NOA_KB

#16

NOA_KB said:

Quick explanation:
When you watch a 3d movie, it switches very quickly between images for your left and right eyes. Think of those red and blue 3d glasses. The image for the right eye is bluer, (or red, whatever it is) so it gets blocked by the blue lens. That way, only the correct image gets to the right eye.

The 3DS works a bit like that, but it directs the image for the right eye ONLY toward the right eye. That's how it keeps the images seperate. I suppose that it could use the camera and face detection to do this more acurately.

Starkiller

#17

Starkiller said:

@Kirk: Hadn't thought of that, however I'm pretty sure it's supposed to have motion sensing, making the head tracking obsolete. (and head tracking would really make the console suck - unless they somehow perfect face recognition)

Kirk

#18

Kirk said:

@Starkiller

The whole head tracking thing is really just one more way to make sure the 3D effect you see is not lost if you move your head a little bit off centre, as opposed to being used for the 3D effect itself.

In the example I provided by knowing roughly where your head is, or both eyes in this case, the machine actually adjusts the lenticular barrier slightly so it keeps the player in the optimum viewing zone for being able to see the 3D effect, and this just means that even if you move your head around a little the effect should still work perfectly fine.

The motion tracking, or tilt sensing I assume you meant, wouldn't be able to do the same thing as that only detects the tilt of the machine as opposed to where the player is positioned in relation to the screen they are trying to look at and more precisely in relation to the lenticular/parallax barrier lenses.

skywake

#19

skywake said:

umm... to quote myself from here on Tuesday
"This could be pretty cool. They already have this tech in some phones in Japan already. I would highly doubt this is about the camera demo (which isn't really 3D) but if you combined the two... you would have something pretty special."

"Can people stop comparing this to the orientation demo thing on the DSi? Its more likely to be an auto-stereoscopic display which is already making its way into Japanesse phones. The two technologies aren't really comparable at all"

Its funny how it took you guys half a week to work this out. I thought you were just being thorough and waiting for more information from Nintendo... apparently not. Is this where I say I told you so?
:P

Token_Girl

#21

Token_Girl said:

How would this work with a tilt game where you were moving the console the whole time? Would it be able to adjust the angles it shoots out light instantaneously and accurately?

That's good that it's easy to switch back and forth to 2D though for people who get headaches for this kind of thing.

Lady_Gryphon

#22

Lady_Gryphon said:

I think the idea is interesting and has potential especially for certain kinds of games. I tend to get motion sick though so I'm not sure how well I would be able to handle long gaming session with those kind of vision tricks.

Donatello

#25

Donatello said:

This is going to be the most amazing Hand held everrr :p
Talk about a major upgrade over the current DS. 3D, Force feed back rumble, High Resolution graphics, Tilt function, GCN-like Graphics(I'm guessing) ect ect.

Twilight_Crow

#26

Twilight_Crow said:

It sounds possible, but I don't think 3D is such a big thing, also two words:
Motion Sickness
I have enough problems with "unperfect" 3D thank you. It still depends on the camera movement and placement though, so I'm ok as long as it can be turned off.

Sean_Aaron

#27

Sean_Aaron said:

@Nintendo-Naut: I would agree if the gaming interface was the same as a PSP or Gameboy Advance, but with a touchscreen/motion input that does change things a bit.

Take the DSiWare game: your actions actually manipulate the perspective, allowing you to look for objects which are behind other objects without having to move an in-game camera around as you do in a typical first person shooter. It really is like looking into a virtual world and is quite immersive.

For things like watching movies and film at home on today's relatively small displays I agree that like HD, it's just window dressing and doesn't actually change the experience or make it more immersive in the way that going from stereo to multi-channel sound does. If your TV was the entire wall of your lounge, though then I could see even a passive experience like watching a film being more immersive.

If Sony is going to sell people TVs built around the tech and use motion controls with it in future Playstations, there could be a similar impact; if they're going to use gamepads, then it's a giant waste of time and will fail - though without wide angle viewing or if you need to wear some kind of apparatus they'll also have a problem selling it to anyone.

In any event, I'm happy with my DSi LL and have no need of a new handheld, but I do find the news and speculation interesting to read.

JimLad

#28

JimLad said:

Does anyone remember that episode of Top Gear with the Range Rover that had a magic screen in the front? Depending on where you watched it from, it displayed a different image. Is this tech similar to that?

Also: imagine such a monitor used in multiplayer to conceal each persons screen. :)

JulioMorataya

#29

JulioMorataya said:

It's a great technology, and judging by te size of te screens it should be cheap enough... i'm agerly waiting for E3... need to know the price to spare the money now !!!

RaylaxStaff

#30

Raylax said:

Looks like Nintendo's 'lateral thinking of withered technology' is back in full swing again :D
Can't wait to find out more about this machine.

HEMIII

#33

HEMIII said:

I've heard of this tech last year. A 10'' tv was goin' for $10k, It looks like the price has dropped quite a bit since then to $4k for a 20''. Here's a video of them talking about the tech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF-PMN3aK8g

Good thing I never got around to buying a HD TV. Next will be something that taps into your brain and makes it seem like a dream. Hell we could already be in the Matrix. We're playing the longest video game ever.

TKOWL

#35

TKOWL said:

This could either be Nintendo's Biggest Success or its biggest failure.

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