Acer's SpatialLabs offers glasses-free 3D for professionals

It's intended for use by designers and modelers for quick-and-dirty previews.

Acer, SpatialLabs

As is the case for several big technology fads, it’s only when the initial hype has fallen away that useful solutions can be identified. Acer's SpatialLabs think that 3D may have a second (third, or fourth, depending on how you’re counting) purpose not as an entertainment medium, but as a tool. It believes that adding glasses-free stereoscopic displays to ConceptD notebooks and external monitors could help CAD-types get an early preview of their work before it’s rendered.

This isn’t, yet, a commercial product, but a development program, that’ll see projects selected to receive early hardware. It harnesses the aforementioned displays, as well as eye-tracking cameras on the machines, to position the images toward the user’s eyes. The company says that it works well enough to enable “content to float in front of the screen” with real-time rendering. As well as cutting down on render time, the partnership hopes that it will end the days of wonky 3D models whose flaws are only revealed when they’ve spent hours being gussied up in the computer.

One example Acer is using to explore this concept is real-time review of a model built in Maya and Unreal Engine “without the back-and-forth heavy rendering pipeline of Maya.” Model Viewer, too, will let you import three-dimensional CAD files to be presented stereoscopically. Acer representatives said that the system is sufficiently fast that users won’t see a performance penalty when viewing their models in 3D.

Developers interested in getting their hands on a prototype ConceptD 3D notebook will need to apply to get a device for up to three months, free of charge. All they’ll have to do in return is allow Acer to use their models as demonstration projects, and offer feedback to the design team.