How It Works: 3-D TV Without Glasses

How a series of thin near-vertical lines placed in front of a display can create a stereoscopic image

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Illustrations by Aaron Newman; Flash design by Josh Rashkin

One hitch in bringing 3-D motion pictures to home theaters has been the glasses—people hate them. Yet viewers have been enjoying motionless 3-D images unassisted since at least the 1960s. At that time, VariVue was printing postcards covered with a lenticular array that sent each eye a slightly different view. This year Toshiba demonstrated a similar kind of glasses-free 3-D display, and Nintendo released its 3DS. Instead of a lens, the 3DS uses a barrier to produce the stereoscopic effect.

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