Glasses-free 3D isn't a new thing, but there's a new generation of technology that could resurrect the idea for a world full of VR and AR headsets. Sony's Spatial Reality Display is a pro monitor designed specifically for looking at 3D objects on a desktop without a headset, and it's arriving next month.
We got an in-person demo of a display using similar tech, the Looking Glass, a few years ago, and were wowed by the experience: With the Looking Glass, 3D objects seemed to hover in a glass box. Sony's display makes the objects look like they're floating in a little stage.
The LCD display's lenticular design angles images to your eye, much like the Looking Glass, but adds eye tracking to specifically render the 3D objects to match your viewing angle. It requires a "powerful PC" to work, according to Sony (Intel Core i7-9700K @3.60GHz or faster; and a graphics card such as Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super or faster).
I didn't get a chance to see an in-person demo, because I haven't had any in-person meetings since the coronavirus arrived. (The display was demoed at CES back in January, however.) Sony will be demoing the display on Oct. 22.
Sony's videos on the display, shown below, discuss the tech and its impact for filmmakers and designers, and Sony's already seeded the display to the upcoming Ghostbusters film, Ghostbusters Afterlife, and to Volkswagen.
The 15.6-inch screen, mounted at an angle, has a lower effective resolution than other displays because it's serving up images to both eyes with its lenticular layer. But the display's rendering software will be compatible with Unity and Unreal plugins.
One downside of Sony's display is that it's meant for just one person to use at a time, because it's serving up an image tuned to your eye position. The Looking Glass worked for several viewers at once, but had a more limited viewing angle. But both displays are compatible with hand-tracking interfaces using a plugged-in Leap Motion controller.