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3D mobile display could transform gaming

NTT DoCoMo demos a 3D display that combines glasses-less 3D technology with a stylus and force feedback--and that lets a virtual chameleon flick a pen out of your hand with its tongue.

CHIBA, Japan--3D displays aren't just for passive consumption, as NTT DoCoMo is showing here at Ceatec.

Japan's largest mobile carrier is showing an experimental display that combines glasses-less 3D technology with a stylus and force feedback, which could make for some interesting interactive possibilities.

Here's how it works: On-screen is a video of a chameleon. When you run the stylus over the screen, the chameleon tracks the location of the magnet-tipped stylus and flicks its tongue out to where the stylus tip comes in contact with the display. Cameras track the position of the pen, and a magnetic coil behind the display sends an electric current to the pen tip, which forces the pen to jump back off the screen--and, in some cases, right out of your hand.

Here's a video of me trying it out:

As you can see, the stylus went flying out of my hand because I wasn't prepared for how powerful the force feedback was. So this might not be ideal for everyday use on a mobile phone or a small tablet, if you're writing e-mail, taking notes, or selecting apps to launch. But a video game? That could be cool.

NTT DoCoMo says there are no plans to bring the gadget to market yet and that the company is still researching the technology. Mobile gaming, though, is one way the company is thinking of using this new display, it said.