As another summer rolls around, you can be sure that movie theaters will be filled with plenty of 3-D blockbusters. 3-D is also gaining traction in TV, especially in sportscasts, and Nintendo recently came out with a 3-D version of its wildly-popular DS handheld video gaming console.
To Professor Janusz Konrad (ECE), whose research areas include stereoscopic and 3-D imaging, this isn’t surprising. In the latest issue of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, writer John Edwards spoke with him about this trend.
“In the last few years there has been a resurgence of 3-D,” Konrad told Edwards. “There exist many, many different technologies and new ones continually appearing.”
Though there have been previous revivals in popularity of 3-D films, Konrad believes the latest will likely be long lasting due to the involvement of Hollywood producers, TV broadcasters, and equipment manufacturers. Also, a wide variety of 3-D glasses, TV sets, and BD/DVD players are available at rapidly-dropping prices.
Meanwhile, he and other researchers in the field are striving to replicate images that have good resolution and don’t require the use of special glasses – a goal Konrad told Edwards is the “holy grail” for 3-D.
A number of manufacturers have been developing such autostereoscopic displays, but technology has not yet reached a level accepted by consumers. Konrad and his students have been working to improve image quality produced by these types of displays.
Another “hot” 3-D topic Konrad is pursuing with his students is automatic conversion of 2-D images to 3-D. With the wealth of 2-D movies and broadcasts, and a relative scarcity of 3-D material, automatic conversion of 2-D images to 3-D is an active research topic in Konrad’s Visual Information Processing Laboratory and in many academic and industrial laboratories in the world. A successful conversion method would likely unleash a torrent of 3-D movies, from “Casablanca” to “Good Will Hunting” – favorites of Konrad’s – and provide a stable foothold for 3-D media.
The IEEE, or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing technology innovations in electricity.
Konrad, an IEEE fellow, previously won the 2001 IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Award. He was also recently named the 2011 ECE Professor of the Year.
-Rachel Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org)