Emerging Technologies

Backward Compatible Stereoscopic Displays via Temporal Psychovisual Modulation

The main contribution of this work is a novel backward-compatible stereoscopic display technology. The new technology can exhibit a 3D image and a 2D version of the 3D image simultaneously on the same physical display medium, depending on whether viewers use 3D glasses or not. This unique functionality is achieved by our recent invention of temporal psychovisual modulation (TPVM), an interesting interplay between high refresh-rate optoelectronic display, signal processing and psychophysics. None of the existing stereoscopic displays, either glasses-free or glasses-aided type, offers the aforementioned 3D-2D compatibility, because these displays can switch between 3D and 2D mode, but cannot operate simultaneously in both. If 3D contents are watched not through channel-separation glasses, the perceived images are of unbearably poor quality with smearing and overlaps of the signals for the two eyes. The functionality of concurrent 3D and 2D exhibitions with the same physical display is highly desirable in many multiuser environments, such as 3D television, 3D electronic games, 3D movies, etc. For instance, in living rooms and theaters, the audience often split in their preferences to 3D or 2D presentations; in the middle of an exhibition some of them may want to switch between 3D and 2D viewing at will independent of others. Also, for some viewers long duration of 3D viewing may cause visual fatigue or other side effects, a seamless backward-compatible stereoscopic display can greatly enhance user experience and lessen many of health concerns with the current 3D displays. As a result, the new concept of 3D to 2D backward compatibility of stereoscopic displays may contribute to general adoption of 3D media technologies by broader range of users.

Guangtao Zhai
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Xiaolin Wu
McMaster University