Toshiba Still Pushing 3D With New 'Glasses Free' 4K Displays

There hasn't been a whole lot going on in the 3D display camp as of late, and that's probably because the industry found itself distracted by two other emerging technologies -- virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift, and 4K Ultra HD displays. Toshiba didn't get those memos, however, and is still hard at work on a glasses-free 3D viewing technology that it plans to incorporate into a 15-inch 4K LCD panel.

As Toshiba explains it, this is a new technology that uses a low-crosstalk, high-definition LCD GRIN lens, or "gradient-index lens." In a GRIN lens, the refractive-index distribution is formed by applying a voltage to the liquid crystal cell.

Toshiba Qosmio

The display in question can switch between 2D and 3D modes, and unlike many 3D displays on the market, Toshiba claims it doesn't suffer any degradation in image brightness in 3D mode or deterioration of image quality in 2D mode.

"The lens system reduces the abnormal alignment of liquid crystal molecules near the boundaries of liquid crystal lens, reducing crosstalk to 2 percent, against 5 percent in conventional 3D displays," Toshiba explains. "This is achieved by optimizing the orientation of the liquid crystal molecules and the angle of the liquid crystal GRIN lens relative to the direction of polarization of the liquid crystal panel. By combining this technology with a 15-inch 4K LCD panel, 3D resolution has been increased more than fivefold, making it possible to view high-quality 3D images on the same display used for ultrahigh-definition 2D images."

Toshiba is planning to show off its new display technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month. Looking beyond CES, the company says it plans to fuse its new technology with a 2D/3D switching function that can be applied to any screen size and position.