Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad obtained the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Co Ltd's portable game console that can display 3D images viewable with the naked eye, Feb 26, 2011.
We immediately turned it on and started to configure settings.
The first screen that appeared after the 3DS was turned on was for checking its 3D screen, which is the most distinguished feature of the 3DS. We felt Nintendo's enthusiasm for 3D capability.
The check procedure starts from moving the "3D volume" slide button to its uppermost position, positioning the screen in front of the eyes, making sure that the distance between the eyes and the screen is 25-35cm, etc. The button is located on the right side of the chassis. The user can view optimal 3D images by using the 3D volume button to adjust 3D effects.
While checking 3D images viewable with the naked eye, we felt that they were more beautiful than we expected. The upper LCD panel, which supports 3D display, is 3.53 inches in size, and its pixel count is 800 (horizontal direction) x 240 (vertical direction).
For 3D display, half of the horizontal 800 pixels are allotted to each of the right and left eyes, but the resolution is still as high as 132ppi (the resolution was calculated by the teardown squad). This might be high enough for a portable game console.
Well, it would be disappointing if we finished the evaluation of the 3D display here. So, we moved on and examined the pixels by using a 100x zoom loupe.
The 3D display of the 3DS seems to be realized by using a "parallax barrier," which partially blocks light, to show different images to the right and left eyes. However, Nintendo has not disclosed the technologies used for the 3D display. Our assumption has been based on the display properties and the fact that Sharp Corp, which is considered to be one of the suppliers of the 3DS' panel, developed technologies similar to the ones used for the 3DS (See related article 1, 2).
In fact, when we looked into the upper LCD panel with the loupe, we found an LCD panel that seemed to have a function of switching on and off the parallax barrier (in addition to another LCD panel used for displaying images). When the 3D volume was turned off, the parallax barrier was turned off, too.
As for the pixels of the LCD panel for displaying images, we found that its red, green and blue sub-pixels were horizontally arranged. We felt like examining the structure that uses the two LCD panels.
By repressing that feeling, we continued to configure settings. After going through "time and date," "user information," "Internet settings," "parental restrictions" and so forth, the menu screen finally appeared.
The first item listed on the menu screen was about the safe use of the 3DS. When this item was selected, cautionary statements about 3D images, health risks and the use of the 3DS appeared. Because some people are pointing out the negative impact of 3D images on small children, it seems that Nintendo made every effort to promote awareness.
Anyway, we finished configuring settings. We would have just played games with the 3DS if we had time. But we started to disassemble it immediately.