Thanks to companies like MasterImage, we will soon be able to watch 3D movies without having to put on those bulky, pesky glasses. They’ve come up with something called “cell-matrix parallax barrier” technology, which sounds like some sort of Lawnmower Man or Johnny Mnemonic-esque immersive Internet world, but is actually just a display screen that projects 3D images. They’ve already started licensing out their work, as Hitashi has used it to create the Wooo, the first ever glasses-free 3D mobile phone, and if VP and GM of 3D display Roy Taylor has anything to say about it, we could be seeing MasterImages’ 3D displays all over the place in coming years, including in cars and airplanes.
“We weren’t looking at (airlines and car makers) initially,” says Taylor, “We were focusing on smartphones and tablets, but there turned out to be strong interest.” While cycles of production on cars aren’t quite as fast as cell phones and tablets, and production on new airplanes is even slower, it could be a year or so before we start seeing these 3D screens showing up in luxury automobiles, and a couple years before they’re installed by full service airlines.
Taylor adds that, “Most models of cars will also have Wi-Fi; that means that car owners will have the ability to download 3D movies and (passengers could) watch them on a trip.” Between people downloading 3D movies in their car, and airlines licensing them for their flights (and probably at a premium above 2D movies), producers of 3D film suddenly have a whole new, potentially large avenue for raking in more cash by using the technology.
This has to be seen as good news for James Cameron’s vision of a “3D Future,” where a constant barrage of 3D images has enslaved our eyeballs. I still remain skeptical about the spread of 3D technology onto every screen we use in our everyday lives, however. I’m fine with it being presented during special screenings in movie theaters, and home displays even make some sense for hardcore gadget junkies, but a world where we are constantly surrounded by 3D images seems like a bit much. There is already a glasses-free, 3D visual display in cars: it’s called the windshield. And flying in planes is disorienting enough that we already have barf bags supplied for every seat. Do we really need to add another layer of brain tricking 3D motion that will exist constantly in the outskirts of our peripheral vision? At what point do our senses just overload and turn us into drooling heaps of screen-addicted junkies?