Watching a superhero film in an immersive 3D format seems like a thoroughly modern experience. But in reality, 3D glasses have been around since the mid-1800s. The technology has constantly improved over its 150 years of existence, but it may finally be mature enough to lose the funky glasses.
Glasses-free 3D displays have been demonstrated within the past few years, but they typically require the viewer to stand at a specific distance from the screen. Now, Wen Qiao and her colleagues from Soochow University in China have developed a new prototype lens that can extend the viewing range—or “depth of field”—beyond what is currently available . The flat-shaped lens consists of an array of nanostructures that projects multiple angles of an image towards the viewer. In years to come, they predict that this design could allow 3D video conferences for remote working. The technology could also make online shopping more like in-person shopping. “When consumers browse an online store, the 3D display system helps them make decisions by virtually reconstructing the merchandise with high fidelity,” Qiao says.
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