Saturday, July 10, 2010

Eye wear.

I remember a time in the 80's when wearing "Shades indoors" was cool and modern, to just flat out futuristic. Think of some of those videos like afrika bambaataa or the movies Tommy and top gun.

The strange irony here is maybe it really was futuristic.

Now we are in an age of contact lenses and lasik. Eye wear is no longer needed for anything but sports, and industrial eye protection.

Yet we find ourselves one again having to wear glasses to watch tv. But this time for totally different reasons.

With the advent of 3D TV will have  people wearing clunky or bizarrely bad attempt of a modern "futuristic look"to be able to decode the 3D.

Even worse then these 50's fashion faux pas that we are now calling modern.

Most of these are LCD Shutter glasses. Where it can turn the lens from clear to black with a small electric current. 
This is the cheapest right now because it uses a standard TV that can display 120 Hz or better. The glasses alternates between each eye turning off the vision in one eye and then the other in sync with the TV.  This is why these glasses are so bulky, it looks like ex-defense contractors designed them to be rugged.

The other technology that I personally prefer is the Polarized lens system.
There are several of them, some that used linear polarizing filters, and some that used circular.
RealD which I think is the best in the the TV space used circular polarization.

The TV has alternating polarization for each line across the screen.
3D content is the interlaced across the screen.

This right now requires a specialize LCD that I think is only made by one company in limited production right now. Several companies sell TV's based on that same LCD screen.

The the linear polarized system it's much like the shutter glasses but the LCD is over the screen rather the on the viewers face.  When view still needs to wear polarized lenses, but these can be light, cheap paper thin plastic sheets.
Like with the shutter glasses, alternate left and right eye pictures are displayed, and the polarization is changed from horizontal to vertical with each alternate frame.

This has the problem that if you tilt your each images from the other eyes image bleeds over.  Generally some always does with this technology as LCD's can not turn the polarization a full 90 deg and high contrast polarizing filters can be expensive.  Circularly polarized still lacks high contrast, but doesn't suffer the head rotation problem.

In the film space, Dolby's system is the ultimate.  I had actually thought of that when I was 20, but concluded that it would cost a fortune and be fragile. They split each color in the spectral bands, an upper and and lower band for each color, and 2 lenses each calibrated to take in upper red green and blue while blocking the lower band.  They'd have to do it with 3 very specialized and high precision band stop filters, make from thin-film dielectric coatings.
It's incredible technology.

Then consider that it's glasses are rugged, and these filters do tend to be very rugged, and yet the Dolby glasses are.
Just an incredible technical achievement.  I have seen the spectral graphs for these things, wow.

I can't imagine what those glasses must be costing them or how much money they must have put in to developing these.

Next I'd like to write about Augmented Reality and the glasses we will end up spending our lives in just to get around.

What an irony that as we evolve we are force to augment ourselves to keep up, at least if you want to be on the top of the pile.


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