I had the pleasure of attending SIGGRAPH2011 here in Vancouver this week.
As I walked through the vendor showcase, a 3D screen quickly grabbed my attention. I couldn't believe the image popping out at me.
This 3D screen, competing with 50 other vendor screens in the room, stood out from the rest. While I looked at this it, all I could think of how this was like something out of Harry Potter. But the best thing is, you don't need to wear glasses to see the effects.
The screens are manufactured by a French company called Alioscopy whose technology is described in the video below.
"Alioscopy displays are called auto-stereoscopic," reads an explanation on the company's website. "They produce the same sensation of depth as described above, but without needing cumbersome eyewear. They are instead equipped with an array of lenticular lenses, casting different images onto each eye. Instead of combining two views, Alioscopy films actually multiplex 8 offset views of a scene. This is why Alioscopy displays are also called multiview displays."
The 3D experience, however, is not perfect. As the demonstrator in the above video mentions, there are particular "sweet spots" where viewers must position themselves to get the full effect. From my encounter with the screens, it wasn't that much of a difference between sweet spots and other spots, though.
The screen views best from a good distance away, so it seems to function better as an attraction rather than a device for close-up or extended viewing. It's important to note that the image I saw was static, so you wouldn't be interested in staring at it for too long anyway.
Personally, I think it's a great promotional tool, because it's definitely eye-catching and draws people in. It will be interesting to see if Alioscopy will eventually display interactive or moving media on the screen. I imagine in its current state, it might break the 3D experience.