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German team win prize for work on 3D TV

German researchers have won a major international award for their work on a system that will allow people to watch 3D displays without special glasses.

A team from Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications Heinrich Hertz Institute scooped the IBC 2012 Best Conference Paper for their work on the ability to create signals for glasses-free 3D displays from two-camera stereoscopic origination.

The International Broadcasting Convention’s Nick Lodge said it was important, relevant work, and the detail of their research is impressive.

“The technology is leading edge, but it is responding to a real market need, to open up the popularity of 3D in the home,” Mr Lodge said.

The premise of the paper is that 3D television to the home will only achieve mass popularity when it can be enjoyed by multiple viewers without the need for glasses. Current production techniques are stereoscopic, using two cameras and image chains and delivering an image to each eye using special glasses.

Autostereoscopic displays – glasses-free 3D – require at least five views and preferably very many more. The Fraunhofer paper describes the design of an algorithm capable of being implemented in relatively low cost hardware that will go inside television receivers to convert stereo 3D to the required number of multiview images, in real time.

Christian Reichert, who will collect the award on behalf of his colleagues, said: “Real time conversion of stereo content to multi-view for autostereoscopic displays is indeed a hot issue in the 3D community. It is a pleasure for a team of researchers like ours to be able to offer solutions to such a challenging task.”