200 inch glasses-free 3D screen lets you walk around objects

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Glasses-free 3D tech seems sure to be the direction that home entertainment set-ups are headed towards. However, apart from a so-so offering from Toshiba in the shape of the 55-inch ZL2 TV, it still seems a long way off from being the norm in living rooms.

Most of the innovation is coming in through the digital signage industry, and few items seem as impressive as this offering from JVC and Kenwood in partnership with Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications (NICT).

Not only is it the world’s biggest glasses-free 3D screen at 200 inches, but it’s also pushing the 3D experience further than any other screen out there at the moment.

Using 57 individual projectors, viewing angle “sweetspots” number 57, far more than with other screens. The plan is eventually to expand the technology to allow for 200 sweetspots.

Also, the large number of projectors mean that the screen gives the impression that viewers can actually peer around the sides of the projected objects; you’d be able to look over, under and around items, making it not only a far more natural-feeling 3D experience, but also perfect for showcasing products through adverts.

The technology comes with a few caveats of course. For starters, it’s still a prototype, not ready for commercial usage yet. Secondly, it’s being aimed towards public display markets, not home consumer ones (yet). Thirdly, the screen weighs a back-breaking 500 kg, so you’d probably have to reinforce the foundations of your house were you even able to get your hands on one.

The large number of video sources needed to push content from the 57 projectors also poses some interesting challenges for content creation. It’s currently just not feasible to set up an array of 57 HD cameras at the 1cm intervals needed to make the 3D effect fully come to life, meaning all the video on show was created using CGI.

Still, it’s a tantilising glimpse into the future, and a step closer to the holographic projections of sci-fi fantasy.

Hit the video above to check it out, courtesy of Digi Info.

Gerald Lynch