3D and 2D at the same time

Some people love 3D TV; and some can’t stand it. But a new invention means that it’s possible for people to watch programs in 2D and 3D at the same time.

Canada’s TandemLaunch Technologies has licensed a system from Max Planck Innovation that processes digital stereo images to allow 3D viewing with glasses and 2D viewing without, without any of the usual blur.

“Backward-compatible Stereo 3D will allow us to produce content that appears ordinary to a viewer without stereo equipment and conveys 3D impression when such equipment is used. The technology will change television as we know it,” says Dr Helge Seetzen, CEO of TandemLaunch.

The system’s based on research into how the human visual system reacts to stereoscopic images and how sensitive it is to changes in binocular disparity in conjunction with other depth cues.

As a result the team was able to make the connection between real and perceived disparity – depth perception – and predict how stereoscopic pictures were perceived.

The scientists also discovered that there are certain thresholds limiting human perception. Below these thresholds, the disparity between the two eyes’ images has no effect on the visual impression. This meant they could rescale stereoscopic pictures in such a way that only the smallest disparity necessary remained – giving the impression of 3D for one viewer, and a blur-free 2D picture for another.

TandemLaunch is now developing the system; there’s no word on when it’ll reach the streets.