Sharp develops a 3D screen for mobile gadgets

The screen will give the illusion of 3D without the need for special glasses

Sharp will launch an LCD panel for mobile devices this year that can show images with the illusion of 3D without requiring viewers to wear special glasses.

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.

During demonstrations on Friday the company showed still images and animation on the screens. The animation looked better than the still images, which were blurry in parts.

Perhaps the most impressive demonstration was that of a screen hooked up to an experimental 3D camera. The camera was capturing an image of a model pushing her arms in and out towards the lens and the 3D screen provided a relatively realistic reproduction of the scene.

The panel is the product of just under 20 years of 3D research and development by Sharp. The company has tried to commercialize such displays several times since 2001 but each time they failed to gain widespread acceptance.

Sharp now believes the time and technology are right.

The new touch-sensitive screen is 3.4 inches across the diagonal. It is twice as bright as the 2001 models, and has about four times the resolution.

"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.

Sharp intends to start mass production of the screen sometime in the next six months, said Hasegawa, and hopes it will find a home in all manner of portable electronics products including cameras, smartphones and handheld gaming devices.

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.

Sharp was careful not to name any potential customers and wouldn't comment when asked directly about a possible deal with Nintendo.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags sharp3d TV

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?