March 24, 2010

Handheld Glasses-Free 3D

Alan Kay, famously:

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

Yesterday Nintendo announced a clever new version of the DS, rumored to use Sharp 3d Parallax LCD display technology for glasses-free 3D. This type of 3D is only effective if you are looking at the screen from a particular spot. Just perfect for the handheld DS, isn't it.

The neat thing about Sharp's display is that it can flip from 3d mode to 2d mode by electronically removing the parallax screen layer. So users don't have to fight with the fiddly 3d display when they're just reading text on the device: software can switch on 3d mode when it's appropriate. The innovation comes from Sharp's European lab in Oxford, which published the work in this 1999 paper, this 2000 paper, and this 2003 whitepaper.

Sharp tried to sell their own laptop with their 3d display in 2003. It was a commercial flop. For software Sharp bundled the snoozer "Sharp Smart Stereo Photo Editor," and a third-party "TriDef Movie Player."

This suggests an ancillary principle to Kay's law:

People who are really serious about hardware should not make their own software.

Sharp's display will be awesome with Mario. Go Nintendo.

Posted by David at March 24, 2010 05:13 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?