Zero Creative develops glasses-free 3-D signage

As it searches for new applications in the commercial world, 3-D technology is now moving past motion pictures and TV to 3-D electronic signage. At IBC2010, Zero Creative, a Dutch company, showed digital signs that pop out of the screen, which caught the eyes of many unsuspecting attendees.

Zero Creative offers an array of tools used to create, manage and deploy 3-D commercials on a 3-D digital signage network. These LCD screens provide a bright and clear 3-D effect without the need for special 3D glasses.

“We started developing this kind of technology already back in 2006, but it took us three years to put all the pieces of the puzzle together in 2009,” said Jean-Pierre van Maasakker, co-founder and chief executive of Zero Creative. An advantage of the system, he said, is an easy way to create new 3-D announcements in a few minutes that can be running on the network instantly.

The technology Zero Creative is presenting is called auto-stereoscopy, which uses lenticular lenses attached to the LCD panel. The lens breaks the original image into eight separate viewing angles on a subpixel level, so the left and right eyes see different images. The lenticular lens is fully transparent and ensures consistent brightness across the display screen.

At IBC the company also showed 2-D-to-3-D conversion (a ubiquitous item shown all around the exhibit show floor from a multitude of companies), stereo to auto-stereo conversion, xyZ 3D Displays (no glasses/auto-stereoscopic), and interactive 3-D visualizations and simulations. The conversion allows users to convert existing 2-D content, including commercials, promotion films and other videos, to 3-D.

The xyZ 3D Displays allow 3-D to be viewed without glasses. The company said it is able to stop 50 to 75 percent of random walking traffic with the 3-D technology. The displays are available in four sizes: 24in, 46in, 63in and 71in. These screens can be used for business purposes during special events or as an exclusive interior element.

The displays use an eight-view system, which the company said gives the best multiviewer result. Human eyes will see only two views at once, making it possible to look around objects that are projected in front of the display. Special software and algorithms make sure every subpixel is sent to the display in the appropriate way to produce the correct 3-D effect.

Later this year, Zero Creative said it expects to launch a 2-D/3-D switchable LCD monitor. This display will allow both 2-D and 3-D imaging and will be available in a 24in model. The advantage of this screen is that it can used as a desktop monitor for personal computers.