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Laptops

Sony lenticular sheet: glasses-free 3D on any laptop

Sony has created a sheet that turns any laptop into a glasses-free 3D machine, consigning 3D specs to the dustbin of history.

Toshiba may have launched the first glasses-free 3D laptop last month, but Sony's come up with a way to make any laptop into a 3D machine without the need for specs.

The electronics giant has invented a lenticular sheet you place across your laptop's screen. It's not the first of its type, but it does feature some pretty innovative face-recognition tech.

That's right, it uses your laptop's webcam and its own software to detect where you're sitting and adjust the on-screen image, giving you the optimum 3D-ness (as we believe it's technically known).

A box in the top left corner shows the view from the webcam, helping to calibrate depending on where you are. As long as you're anywhere between 30cm and 1m away, and at an angle somewhere from 60 to 120 degrees, you should get a great image.

It uses lenticular technology, as seen on the Nintendo 3DS, and Toshiba's glasses-free 3D laptop and TV. Lenticular screens feature lenses that direct the light from the images to your eyes, so each eye sees a different image, tricking your brain into thinking it's 3D.

Lenticular screens have had complaints of blurry images and people experiencing motion sickness unless they're in the ideal position (the 'sweet spot'), so the face-detection tech is a welcome addition. Try sitting through a lenticular demo hungover at a hot, bright, trade show and you'll see where we're coming from.

The sheet was developed for the Vaio S-series laptop, and the demo version fit snugly over the 15.5-inch LCD, but there's no reason why it couldn't go into production for any model and make of laptop. Global Wave's Pic3D already does the same for different size screens, but without the face detection tech.

Sony's version will be out in October for €129 (£113).  

So, the future of 3D? Or has Tosh got the glasses-free game sown up? Let us know via Facebook or the comments section below.