The 3D display screen allegedly used in Nintendo’s new DS system has been researched by tech firm Sharp for nearly twenty years, official documents show.
And Sharp’s illuminating research paper on 3D parallax barrier displays – republished here – says that the 3D technology can be used in a number of applications “including 3D games, amusements and image capture”.
The document explained how users can switch between 2D and 3D displays, as well as explore the potential of 3D camera technology.
On Tuesday it was announced that Nintendo will be unveiling its new 3D-capable version of the Nintendo DS at E3. Since then, two Japanese news outlets claim that the device (dubbed ‘3DS’) will use Sharp’s parallax barrier 3D – a display technology that does not require glasses and can also be switched on and off.
The uncovered Sharp document claims that normal text in a parallax 3D display “can appear distorted”, so a simple mechanical switch is recommended for users to flip between 3D and 2D. Sharp adds that the quality of switched-to 2D display is “identical to standard 2D.”
Elsewhere in the document, written in 2003, the firm says it “aims to widen the position in which a 3D image can be viewed, therefore increase viewer freedom. This is particularly important for gaming applications.”
Sharp goes on to stress how a parallax 3D display could be used in combination with a 3D camera system – whereby a snapped image can be displayed as a 3D holograph.
The concept of 3D camera system is not distant to Nintendo’s own product design philosophy – the Kyoto-headquartered firm typically builds products aimed at bringing people closer together. The focus of the existing DSi and its camera, for example, is not to snap pictures but to let people interact with them – a principle that could translate well to 3D cameras and images.
New camera technologies have of course proven to be enormously lucrative in Japan, with many photo-taking devices quickly embedding themselves within the nation’s consumer conscience.
Nintendo has declined to comment on the speculation surrounding its new handheld.
Veteran developer Andrew Oliver has already said that using parallax 3D tech would be a coup for the company.