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Pic3D: Turn Your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch into a Glasses-Free 3D Display

If you are a close follower of the tech industry, then you are no doubt aware that 3D technology whether you like it or not is currently a hot trend. Big budget movies always come in 3D, more 3D HDTVs are hitting the market, the release of Nintendo's 3DS, HTC launching 3D capable Android devices like the HTC Evo 3D and so on. The point is, 3D technology is not going anytime soon. But what about your iOS devices? Just last month, we featured an allegedly 3D capable device which is speculated to be the iPad 3. But what if you can simply add a plastic sheet in your iDevice to make it 3D capable?

Pic3D on iPad
Just a few days ago, a 3D-oriented trade show called 3D and Virtual Reality Expo was held in Tokyo. And one of the most interesting participant of the show is the exhibit from a company called Global Wave. You see, they have exhibited a 3D accessory called Pic3D that could instantly turn any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and even Windows desktop monitors into a glasses free 3D display. Things are looking good already for those who hates those goofy 3D glasses.

Pic3D is basically a sheet of plastic that closely resembles a screen protector. But unlike most glassless 3D technology that's available in the market that uses parallax barrier, this 3D sheet utilizes a lenticular lens system. And this yields several advantages like more image consistency, 90% more light transmission and 120° degree field of view. So Pic3D provides more flexibility than your standard 3D technology.
Pic3D on Windows
And in order to take advantage of this new 3D product, all you have to do is stamp it at the screen of your iOS device or Windows desktop displays and use together with an installed application. These 3D sheets are available to 12.1-inch, 21.5-inch and 23-inch displays, although Global Wave said that they are aiming to expand beyond those applications and cater to more devices as soon as possible.

We already announced this product for the iPad at the game show last year, and it was then used on a Fujitsu PC this spring, and now in the sheet form it can be used on all kinds of PCs and smartphones. We are now announcing 6 series of sheets and applications all at one time.

As of now, Pic3D only supports devices that are running iOS or Windows desktop PC. It is unclear whether there will be future support for the Mac OS X or Android but there seems to be no reason for Global Wave not to. Once Pic3D is applied along with its accompanying application, any video in a side-by-side format will be simulated in 3D. Interestingly enough, it also supports Youtube which is a strange choice but should significantly kick-start not only the accessory but the technology behind it if it works.

Basically it will work with video files which are in the side by side format, and if you input URLs for side by side formatted content on sites such as YouTube, it will work with them too.

This feature is certainly to be more of a luxury than a necessity. First, it is doubtful that the quality of this 3D sheet will even be close to that of a native 3D display. Second, I just don't see the appeal of 3D on mobile screens which has smaller displays. But who knows, it worked for Nintendo right? Check out this video of Pic3D in action:

Global Wave expects Pic3D to be on sale as early as August and will initially be available through their website only. Eventually, the company plans to expand through other retailers as well. So what about the price? The introductory price is said to be ¥2,000 ($25) for iPhone and iPod Touch, while the 23-inch version is expected to be priced at ¥15,000 ($185). We'll be seeing more of Pic3D at this year's Tokyo Game Show this coming September.

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    maxin5 years, 2 months ago

    It is good!