It seems that the recent enthusiasm for 3D is beginning to fade and that the introduction of 3D at both the cinema and in our living rooms has been something of a mixed success.
In fact Disney Studios invested a staggering $175 million in making a 3D children’s movie called Mars Needs Moms only to see ticket sales of under $7 million in the first week. This is likely to be one of the biggest movie box-office losses of all time. Disney has already written off $100 million on the movie and anticipates losing many more millions. Incidentally, “Mars Needs Moms,” tells the story of a 9-year-old boy trying to get back his mother who has been abducted by Martians and it seems that parents have been unwilling to pay the premium ticket prices for watching the 3D version.
Although Disney is going to be thinking very hard before making the next 3D movie, it seems that it will not be long before 3D is a standard feature of smartphones.
One of the problems with 3D is those special glasses which show alternating images to the left and right eyes. A glasses-free 3D image can be displayed using parallax barriers which separates out the two image views just using a set of slots. Alternatively lenticular lenses can be used to create a similar effect.
The former of these techniques, parallax barriers, is the one that is being used in the new generation of 3D gaming consoles. Whilst these are very impressive, some people have been finding that they suffer headaches and nausea if they play for too long without a break.
The problem with this system is that it works best if you are immediately in front of the screen. Prototype TVs with similar technology have been made but they have a very small viewing angle and are not really viable; it will be many years before we have glasses free TV in our living rooms.
The real future for glasses free 3D lies in smartphones and 3D Android apps are already available for smartphones equipped with an appropriate glasses free 3D screen. It could be that 3D on the move is set to become the most successful 3D technology.