Nintendo unveils 3DS

Nintendo presented the 3DS at the E3 expo,  its newest addition to its family of handheld consoles. An autostereoscopic 3,53″ screen with a resolution of 800 x 240 pixels, or 400 x 240 pixels per eye, will create 3D images without the need for a pair of shutter glasses. A second display which functions as a 2D touchscreen with a resolution 320 x240 pixels is found on the handheld console’s lower half.

An analogue pad is also featured on the 3DS, in addition to the traditional control pad. The pad gives players the ability for 360° degree control, for instance adjusting the depth of field, or adjusting the camera view. A slider on the right side of the 3D screen can also be used to scale the 3D effect up and down, or turn it off completely. A motion sensor and a gyroscopic sensor are also included in the package, as well as two outer and one inner cameras. Stereoscopic 3D photos can be made using the two outside cameras. The 3DS will be backwards compatible with regular DS games and have a slot for SD memory cards.

Nintendo 3DS

“The additional dimension of depth in 3D makes it easier for players to judge distances while giving developers a new tool to create games and experiences that play with both height and depth,” said Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s famous game designer.

Movie studios Warner Bros., Disney and  Dreamworks will also sell content for the console. Visitors at the E3 expo will be able to see trailers of 3D movies such as “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Tangled” in 3D.

Users will be able to access the internet or play via a router with friends, as it supports 802.11 wlan. Encryption will be WPA/ WPA2 and it can automatically exchange data with other units or receive data from the internet when it’s in sleep mode. Parents however need not fret, it will have parental controls, just like the Nintendo DSi.

Sharp is known to be the supplier of the 3D LCD screen technology and is most probably responsible for the camera module. Sharp presented the 3D screen, designed for mobile phones and handheld devices, on April 2 this year in Japan. It uses a parallax barrier to achieve a 3D picture. This barrier is a series of vertical slits which were added to a regular LCD display and control the light reaching the left and right eyes, giving the picture depth.

Switchable Sharp 3D/ 2D LCD

Sharp already launched the technology back in 2002, however the resolution and brightness were too low. Apart from being 1″ larger, the newly developed screen also has around twice the resolution and twice the brightness than its predecessor, whereas the contrast ratio has been bumped up from 1:100 to 1:1000.

The company also announced a 3D camera module in May, also for use in handsets. It will allow 3D videos and pictures to be made in full 720p HD resolution. However, the Nintendo DS cameras only offer resolution of 0,3 megapixels, meaning the company either uses a scaled-down module from Sharp or a smaller-sized module from another maker.