Phase I of the Small Business Innovation Research Project will serve to investigate an optical system to be used with LCDs or plasma displays to produce 2D/3D switchable autostereoscopic displays which produce images possessing the full resolution of display. During this SBIR Phase I project, DTI will develop and test technology and fabrication techniques for its next generation of glasses-free 3D displays.
The aim of the project is to establish the feasibility of the autostereoscopic imaging concept, to identify the best configuration for the optics, and to determine the feasibility of using the concept on LCD and plasma displays. To accomplish this objective, small test optics will be created and evaluated, measurements of relevant properties of representative plasma and LCD panels will be made, and a development path for the next phase of the project will be identified.
Several advances that are expected from this programme include larger autostereoscopic displays which have a wider viewing angle, less cross talk, and the ability to adapt to any type of flat panel including plasma displays, field emission displays (FED), organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays and LCDs.
Various companies have begun to market autostereoscopic displays. Such displays are encountering a market barrier in some applications because they achieve their 3D effect by sacrificing resolution. They divide the pixels on the display between a right and left eye image, thus leaving each image with half the resolution of the flat panel itself.
The proposed technology will produce autostereoscopic images without sacrificing resolution. This research promises to create 3D images with the same resolution as conventional 2D images. Like DTI's current products, the resulting desktop monitors will have the ability to act as conventional 2D monitors and switch to autostereoscopic 3D mode at the push of a button.
The direct commercial potential of the project lies in autostereoscopic products that will be manufactured using this technology. Such display products will find widespread use in scientific and medical visualisation applications, industrial inspection, tele-robotic and other remote vision applications. Consumer based applications may include electronic commerce and computer gaming.
DTI has historically been able to convert the research from its SBIR contracts into commercial products relatively quickly. Its current line of switchable 2D/3D LCD Displays was partially developed through SBIR research contracts. The current SBIR project will run from January 1, 2002 till May 31, 2002. The award represents an amount of $100.000.