3D TVs get makeover to do away with 3D glasses

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A new technology to adapt conventional 3D films to 3D TV in real time, doing away with the need for 3D glasses, has been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz Institute, HHI in Berlin. The technology converts a Blu-ray’s existing 3D content in a manner that enables it to be shown on autostereoscopic displays.

‘We take the existing two images and generate a depth map – that is to say, a map that assigns a specific distance from the camera to each object,’ said Christian Riechert, research fellow at HHI. ‘From there we compute any of several intermediate views by applying depth image-based rendering techniques. And here’s the really neat thing: the process operates on a fully automated basis, and in real time.’

Previous systems were only capable of generating such depth maps at a dramatically slower pace; sometimes they even required manual adaption. This technology converts the data in real time. Meanwhile, a hardware component estimates the depth map in the background and generates the requisite views.

The researchers have already finished the software that converts the data. In the next step, the scientists, working in collaboration with industry partners, intend to port it onto a hardware product so that it can be integrated into televisions. The researchers estimate it will still take at least another calendar year before the technology is available commercially.