The system can work in real-time to convert content

Disney Research system converts video to no-glasses 3D

A system that automatically converts stereoscopic 3D video so that it can be viewed on systems that do not require glasses has been developed by Disney Research and ETH Zurich.

The system uses a combination of computer algorithms and hardware to adapt existing 3D content for multiview autostereoscopic displays (MADs).

The process is able to operate automatically and in real-time and the developers believe it could be integrated into a system-on-chip which would make it suitable for mobile applications.

"The full potential of this new 3D technology won't be achieved simply by eliminating the need for glasses," said Markus Gross, vice president at Disney Research.

"We also need content, which is largely nonexistent in this new format and often impractical to transmit, even when it does exist. It's critical that the systems necessary for generating that content be so efficient and so mobile that they can be used in any device, anywhere."

MADs enable a 3D experience by simultaneously projecting several views of a scene, rather than just the two views of conventional, stereoscopic 3-D content.

Researchers therefore have begun to develop a number of multiview synthesis methods to bridge this gap.

One approach has been depth image-based rendering which uses the original views to build a depth map that describes the distance of each pixel to the scene. Building depth maps is difficult and less-than-perfect depth maps can result in poor quality images.

Michael Schaffner, a researcher at Disney Research, said the team took a different approach based on image domain warping.

This method dispenses with problematic depth maps and instead analyses the left and right input images to reveal features such as saliency information, point correspondences and edges.

By solving an optimisation problem, "image warps" are computed which transform the input images to new viewing positions between the two original views.

The researchers were able to use this method to synthesize eight new views in real-time and in high definition.

Glasses-less 3D TVs are already appearing at technology shows but a system such as this conversion process will be needed in order to bring the wealth of content that is needed to make consumer investment in the technology worthwhile.

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