Toshiba Corp developed an LCD panel that can partially convert a 2D image to a 3D image and can be viewed with the naked eye.
The LCD panel was announced at SID 2010, the largest international conference on display technologies that took place from May 23 to 28, 2010, in Seattle, the US.
The LCD panel is compatible with the "integral imaging method," which the Toshiba Group has been developing, and has nine viewpoints. Its screen size is 12 inches. The pixel count is 1,400 x 1,050 for 2D images (full screen) and 466 x 350 for 3D images (full screen).
The panel displays 3D images by using the "GRIN (gradient index) lens," which changes the distribution of refraction indexes by controlling the gradient (orientation) of liquid crystal molecules.
The prototyped panel is equipped with an LCD panel that generates the GRIN lens and is positioned in front of the LCD panel used for displaying images. When the power of this second LCD panel is off, the refraction index does not change and light passes in a normal way, showing a 2D image. When the power is on, the liquid crystal molecules are aligned in a radial pattern in parallel with the electrodes arranged like stripes in the vertical direction. And they work as lenses to show 3D images.
It is possible to show 2D images and 3D images at the same time by partially turning on the second panel.
However, the liquid crystal layer of the panel equipped with the GRIN lens (the second panel) is 150μm thick, which is several tens of times thicker than that of a normal LCD panel. And it considerably slows the response speed. Therefore, the power of the prototype's second panel is always on.
Toshiba added another (third) LCD panel that can change the polarization of light by 90° between the two panels, whose transmittance is about 90%, to switch between 2D and 3D images at a high speed.