Image: Sony

One of the biggest reasons why 3D TVs flopped is because they needed expensive and annoying glasses, which nobody wanted to bother with. Sony appears to have found a way around that nuisance with its Spatial Reality Display, a small, 15-inch monitor that can display three-dimensional images without the need for uncomfortable eye wear.

While it’s impossible to say how well it works without seeing it in person, Sony says that the Spatial Reality Display leverages three key technologies to make glasses-free 3D viewing possible: a high-speed vision sensor, real-time rendering algorithm, and micro optical lens. The former tracks a user’s eye movement down to the millisecond, while the latter divides the image to create a stereoscopic image.

Sony’s Spatial Reality Display will be available to purchase next month for $4,999. Prospective buyers can also sign up for a virtual demo of the product, which will take place on October 22.

Original Press Release

Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the debut of the Spatial Reality Display (SR Display), a groundbreaking new product made with Sony’s award-winning Eye-Sensing Light Field Display (ELFD) technology. The display, initially shared with attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of this year, does not require virtual reality glasses or a headset. The SR Display enables creators across a variety of industries, from automotive and industrial design, to Computer Graphics (CG) and Visual Effects (VFX) designers and creators in film to bring ideas to life in stunning 3D displays.

“We’re excited to bring the world’s best technology to bear, moving the design and creation industry forward, particularly as the shift to digital has become so pronounced,” stated Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics North America. “This technology drives new versatility, allowing us to advance an entirely new medium and experience for designers and creators everywhere.”

Extraordinary 3D Image Quality

Using spatial reality to combine the virtual and physical world, the Spatial Reality Display creates an incredible 3D optical experience that is viewable to the naked eye. This is made possible by several technologies:

High-speed Vision Sensor – The SR Display is based an innovative high-speed vision sensor which follows exact eye position in space, on vertical, horizontal and depth axes simultaneously. The display monitors eye movement down to the millisecond, while rendering the image instantaneously, based on the location and position of the viewer’s eyes. This allows creators to interact with their designs in a highly-realistic virtual, 3D environment, from any angle without glasses.3

Real-time Rendering Algorithm – Additionally, the SR Display leverages an original processing algorithm to display content in real-time. This allows the stereoscopic image to appear as smooth as real life, even if the viewer moves around.

Micro Optical Lens – The micro optical lens is positioned precisely over the stunning 15.6 inches (diag.) LCD display. This lens divides the image into the left and right eyes allowing for stereoscopic viewing with just the naked eye.

Workflow Integration with Sony’s Software Development Kit

Sony’s dedicated SDK makes it easy for designers to create content for the SR Display.4 The SDK is compatible with industry-standard tools Unity and Unreal Engine, so creators can work within an already-familiar production environment, and can be used to develop interactive applications in gaming, VR, construction, and automotive design. Please visit the SR Display developer site for more info: https://www.sony.net/dev-srd.

Applications for Content Creators Across Industries

For filmmakers, graphic artists, engineers and product designers in corporate and industrial settings, the cutting-edge 3D visual technology of the SR Display delivers a futuristic, yet highly practical visual experience, where detailed colors, textures, contrasts and brightness fuse, to form a new medium for image, character and product design and visualization.2 For example, in the automotive industry, there is potential to integrate the product early on in the new vehicle design ideation process, improving quality, speed and the tangible nature of the concepts themselves.

“At Volkswagen, we’ve been evaluating Sony’s Spatial Reality Display from its early stages, and we see considerable usefulness and multiple applications throughout the ideation and design process, and even with training,” commented Frantisek Zapletal, Virtual Engineering Lab US, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We’re excited to continue blazing trails and collaborating with Sony to find practical use cases for this innovative product at Volkswagen.”

To highlight the capabilities of this cutting-edge technology, Sony Electronics collaborated with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Pictures subsidiary Ghost Corps on the upcoming Ghostbusters film, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” scheduled for release in 2021. The collaboration focused on using the SR Display to bring both familiar and new film characters to life, through the groundbreaking visual medium.

“We have been working with the Sony team to bring Ghostbusters characters and assets to life using Sony’s Spatial Reality Display,” noted Eric Reich, brand and franchise executive at Ghost Corps. “Moving forward, we could see potential benefits from pre-visualization to 3D modeling. The display offers a new approach to visualizing concepts and characters, making understanding the finished product that much easier.”

Pricing and Availability

The SR Display has a suggested retail price of $4,999.99 USD and $6,649.99 CAN. It will be available to order on Sony’s direct e-commerce site and other retailers in November.

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11 Comments

  1. Sounds headache inducing beyond limited time viewing. Better for advertisements than workstation use. Though being able to draw a 3d object real time and see it in true 3d would be nice.
  2. I wonder about things like viewing range, angle, refresh rate, and how many concurrent viewers it can support.

    I am hoping demo monitors make it out into the wild next month so I can see the magic.

  3. After 3DS came out, I was wondering if we would ever see large-scale displays with similar technology. I didn’t know Samsung was experimenting with something like that just a few years later, as Peter pointed out in his post above. I always thought that if 3D was ever going to take off, it would be the glasses-free variety. I never much cared for glasses-based 3D (with either active or passive glasses, although the passive glasses were easier on my eyes). Didn’t care much for the 3D on the base 3DS and XL models either, though I will admit the 3D on the New 3DS was much improved. Still, it didn’t take long for me to realize that 3D of any kind just wasn’t for me. Headaches and eye strain.
  4. Samsung was doing this back in 2015. It just never fully took off.

    Saw a glassless 3D TV displayed for sale at CompUSA in the mid-2010’s. This isn’t anything new or revolutionary, but I guess they have to push gimmicks to try and get people to buy new televisions these days.

  5. I wonder about things like viewing range, angle, refresh rate, and how many concurrent viewers it can support.

    I am hoping demo monitors make it out into the wild next month so I can see the magic.

    It says 1 user tracking… So my guess is 1 ;)

  6. Those are just called "glasses" :)

    Nah, something that takes your 3d view (since you have 2 eyes with space in between your brain is able to turn it into 3d)… if you took 2 views and transformed it into a flat 2d space :). Kind of like unprojecting 3d!!! Oh man would those be fun with zero depth perception.

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