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    Sony and Toshiba do face-tracking, glasses-free lenticular3D on laptops (hands-on)

    Sony and Toshiba do face-tracking, glasses-free lenticular3D on laptops (hands-on)

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    I was extremely impressed by Toshiba's glasses-free 3D implementation on the ZL2, which employs, among other things, a "nine segment active lenticular lens array" and facial tracking. Turns out, Toshiba has a much cheaper version of this technology built into a laptop, and Sony is doing the same thing with a slap-on lenticular sheet. Are they any good? Well... follow after the break for my hands-on impressions.

    Sony will be offering its sheet, which is basically an ultra-fancy piece of plastic with clips on each side. It'll work with a couple of SE-series 1080p 15.5-inch laptops, one for Japan and one for Europe, but won't be coming to the US. It's supposed to be out at the end of October for €129. While the low price and removability is nice, the problem is that the sheet needs serious calibration every time it's slapped on. I attempted to calibrate a laptop and failed miserably -- I think I'm not very good at closing one eye at a time. The good news is that once it is calibrated, the 3D image is surprisingly good. Sony uses facial tracking to shift pixels around behind the lenticular lens, so that even if you get a little out of phase it can lock you back into a 3D image. This didn't work as well as on the ZL2, but it's totally passable and much better than previous glasses-free attempts on laptops.

    Toshiba has built its lenticular filter into the Qosmio F750. The screen looks just fine when the 3D mode is off, but 3D content gets the lenticular treatment. There didn't seem to be any calibration required on the Qosmio, either because the lens is built-in, or because the facial tracking is more detailed (Toshiba tracks facial tilt and distance between eyes, while Sony just seemed to be tracking head position). Unfortunately, while I played some Street Fighter with no problems (a relatively simple 3D application), I could never seem to get quite in phase with the couple of movie trailers I watched. Interestingly, I could tilt my head a bit and get into phase, but then it seems that the system was automatically adjusting the view and knocking me back out. This leads me to believe that, if properly configured, the F750 will do 3D just fine. Still, I walked away from Toshiba's booth with a headache and a hint of nausea.

    Here's a video of Sony's lenticular lens, which might help "explain" how all of this stuff works:

    Sony and Toshiba glasses-free 3D hands on photos