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1980s sci-fi classic turns science fact with new glasses-free 3D tech


Washington: The 3D billboard that was present in the 1980s sci-fi classic ‘Back to the Future Part II,’ may actually exist in a few short years as scientists have created a new prototype for a 3-D display which can be used without 3-D glasses.

Flying cars, hoverboards and video chat – a very futuristic vision for the year 2015 was presented in the movie that was released in 1989. Now, shortly before “Back to the Future Day” on October 21st, 2015, it is time to check whether reality has indeed kept up with the daring predictions of the 80s.

One of the technological innovations presented in this film was a huge 3D display. As far as this invention is concerned, Hollywood was almost right. Such displays will soon be possible.

TU Wien and TriLite Technologies are presenting a display element which uses special micro optics and moving micro mirrors to project different pictures into different directions. This technology can be used to create 3D displays without the need for 3D glasses.

A first prototype has been developed by TriLite Technologies and TU Wien a few months ago. Each 3D pixel (called “TrixelTM”) consists of a laser and a moveable mirror. The mirror directs the laser beams across the field of vision, from left to right. During that movement the image information is changed. With this basic idea, different pictures can be sent to the viewer´s left and right eye, so that a 3D effect is created without the need for 3D glasses.

Now, a much more advanced second prototype has been presented. It is now a full color display, a significant advancement over the first monochromatic version. Each Trixel has been equipped with three different lasers (red, green and blue). The module consists of 12×9 Trixels, so any number of modules can be assembled to create a large outdoor display.

Researcher Jorg Reitterer said that the software for controlling the modules and displaying movies has already been developed, adding that they can use any off-the-shelf 3D movie and play it on our display.

The study appears in Optics Express. (ANI)

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