Sharp Develops 3D LCD Screen For Mobile Gadgets

Sharp will launch an LCD screen this year that will offer viewers the illusion of 3D. And don’t worry, you can leave those geeky glasses in the living room because this screen works without them. The touchscreen display measures 3.4 inches.

Sharp today detailed its latest 3D, no-glasses-required screen for mobile devices. Image: AP

Sharp will launch an LCD screen this year that will offer viewers the illusion of 3D. And don’t worry, you can leave those geeky glasses in the living room because this screen works without them. The touchscreen display measures 3.4 inches.

To get the 3D illusion viewers must hold the screen about 30 centimeters in front of them — about the same distance at which a cell phone or digital camera is typically held.

If they get the angle right, they will see an image that appears to have depth; if they get it wrong they will see a blurred image that’s difficult to decipher.

The screen can be switched between 3D and conventional 2D modes. This is accomplished with a switchable layer inside the screen, called a parallax barrier, that splits light from the screen and directs it towards the right or left eyes when energized.

Sharp has been working on the technology for nearly 20 years and has been trying unsuccessfully to get it to market since 2001. Now that the 3D market is on the rise, Sharp feels the time is right.

“We are going to see a shift to 3D applications on mobile terminals,” said Yoshisuke Hasegawa, general manager of Sharp’s LCD business, at a Tokyo news conference.

The company plans to begin manufacturing within the next six months and hopes the screen will find a home in electronics like smartphones, cameras and portable gaming systems.

Sharp provides LCD panels to Nintendo for use in its DS handheld gaming console so there’s an expectation among some that the screen announced Friday will find a home in the upcoming Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS, announced last month, is an upgrade of the DS with a 3D screen and is due out sometime in the next 12 months. [via ComputerWorld]

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