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How Does the 3DS Work Without 3D Glasses?

Late on Monday night, Nintendo announced that it would unveil a new version of its handheld DS console at E3 in June. Dubbed the 3DS, Nintendo said the device would allow users to enjoy 3D games without the need for glasses. 48 hours later, and we've already got some rumors about the specifics of the device.

Engadget cites Asahi in Japan, which claims the 3DS achieves its glasses-free 3D effect by using a parallax barrier LCD from Sharp. These displays have been around for a few years but they're very dependent on what angle you look at the screen from. Though this shouldn't be a problem with a small LCD, like the ones you'd find on the DS, it's not too practical for the telly in your sitting room.

So how does a parallax LCD work? Most people know that when you're watching a 3D movie and wearing those dorky glasses, a different image is being sent to each eye; your brain mashes these two images together to create a composite 3D image. You may not know that a 3D display incorporates an overlay that is placed in front of the LCD. This is called a parallax barrier and it polarizes the glasses.

Sharp's parallax barrier is a little different for it is actually a 'switching LCD' that allows for both 2D and 3D imaging without the need for special glasses or goggles. When this switching LCD is switched off, the TFT-LCD displays 2D imaging as normal, but when the parallax barrier is switched on, it controls the way light leaves the display, meaning different patterns of light reach the left and right eye.

Other rumors suggest the device will pack a DualShock-esque vibration-feedback system and something called 3D control sticks, whatever they are.

  • aje21
    So you get half the horizontal resolution in stereoscopic 3D mode?

    I wonder if this like the system they use in some of the latest cars to allow the driver to see a sat-nav screen while the passenger sees a DVD?
    Reply
  • burnley14
    Why all the infatuation with 3D lately? I would much prefer high quality 2D, anything 3D I've ever seen is a waste of money and gives me a headache.
    Reply
  • sliem
    Next for Nintendo: 3DS XL. A bigger 3DS!
    Reply
  • I predict success on par with Nintendo's previous 3D effort, the venerable Virtual Boy.
    Reply
  • hixbot
    Everyone assumed it was a parallax barrier. No news here.

    I'm not convinced the angle problem is moot on a tiny display.

    I'm pretty sure it will be VERY FUSSY to what angle you view the display. Which will mean you'll have to keep your arms holding this little "gameboy" very still, and keep your head and arms in the perfect position.
    Reply
  • cscott_it
    I was thinking "Laser beams straight to the brain".
    I was sort of close...

    I'm skeptical, but hopeful.
    Reply
  • Miharu
    It's a great job for Nintendo!!!!
    3D technology is a great move!

    If they coming fast they'll stop iPhone progress (because iPhone doesn't have this technology)(happy ending).

    I hope they'll also coming with a real 1080p console supporting 3D. ( PS3 is already on the way for the 3D technology. And the Xbox360 ? No idea. Xbox360 hardware probably doesn't support 3D).
    Reply
  • drethon
    hixbotEveryone assumed it was a parallax barrier. No news here.I'm not convinced the angle problem is moot on a tiny display.I'm pretty sure it will be VERY FUSSY to what angle you view the display. Which will mean you'll have to keep your arms holding this little "gameboy" very still, and keep your head and arms in the perfect position.
    I thought I heard somewhere it tracks where the users eyes or head is at to work with different viewing angles/distances. Could be wrong...
    Reply
  • tipoo
    Witchcraft. Got it.
    Reply
  • ezodagrom
    sliemNext for Nintendo: 3DS XL. A bigger 3DS!Nah, it's going to be the 3DS Max, haha.
    Reply