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Scientists create glasses-free 3D for the movie theater

You wouldn't have to don awkward eyewear to watch the latest blockbuster.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
07.25.16 in AV
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Mike Powell via Getty Images

Watching glasses-free 3D on a TV is no longer an outlandish concept, but that hasn't been true for movie theaters. How are you supposed to create the same parallax effect for everyone, whether they're up front or way in the back? Researchers at MIT CSAIL and Israel's Weizmann Institute for Science finally have a practical answer. Their Cinema 3D tech creates multiple parallax barriers in a single display, using lenses and mirrors to deliver a range of angles across the whole theater. And unlike previous attempts at large-scale glasses-free 3D, you don't have to take a hit to resolution.

You won't get to forego the unwieldy eyewear for a while. The prototype is only slightly larger than a pad of paper, and uses 50 lens/mirror combos to achieve its 3D effect. You'd need a far bigger and more intricate system to make it work at the local movie house, which might make it prohibitively expensive. However, it's imaginable that a future, optimized version might find its way into theaters and spare you from one of the biggest hassles in modern moviegoing.

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