Get 3D on your mobile phone

There wasn’t much at this year’s MWC that popped out at us, but a piece of tech from a little firm called Masterimage 3D did just that – with some ‘in-your-face’ technology that leapt right off a diminutive mobile phone screen.

Masterimage, based in Burbank, CA, makes what its marketing speak calls “next-generation 3D technologies” – effectively mobile 3D which can be viewed without those silly glasses.

3D ScreamThe firm holds no less than nine patents in the areas of both stereoscopic and autostereoscopic (glasses-free) technologies, and was flaunting its latest 3D enabled handset across the Fira in Barcelona.

This TechEye reporter watched a music video in 3D which almost looked like having miniature members of the girl band shimmying away in the palm of her hand. The result was actually quite remarkable, if still a tad blurry round the edges.

Apparently the magic is achieved by the firm’s Cell Matrix Parallax technology, which allows for both portrait and landscape modes in 3D and which can also switch between 2D and 3D as desired.

“We’re in discussions with 3D content makers and developing a portal for delivery of content,” one of the company’s spokesmen told TechEye.

“Everything’s on the cards, tablets, phones, prototype TVs…” but, he said, “content is key and volume of content is still our biggest challenge.” 

We ventured that battery life would probably also take quite a beating using 3D tech on a phone, but were told it made only a “nominal” difference. 

“This technology is a leap beyond,” the spokesman added, telling us that because of the interlaced imaging, even frame rate was less of an issue. 

3D TechAll well and good, but why must we endure the nerdy awfulness of plastic glasses in cinemas then? Apparently it all comes down to cost. “You’ll see glasses-free 3D TV in the near future, but it’s just not practical in theatres because the screen size makes it cost prohibitive,” he said.

“It is cost effective to apply it to mobile handsets though,” he added, waxing lyrical about Masterimage’s special (and patented) manufacturing process that apparently allows for precise alignment between its 3D module and the display. 

“Our equipment aligns each pixel of both panels with a maximum tolerance of two microns to ensure the highest manufacturing yield,” we were told.

Masterimage, which is currently demoing its “very light software” on a Hitachi Woo H001 phone, says it is initially targeting the gaming market, but we’re pretty sure it may find a firm following in the adult video market too.

And the firm isn’t ruling anything or anyone out. “We’re talking to everyone, we need a lot of relationships at this point,” the spokesman told us. 

And as if delivering “real life on a screen” wasn’t enough, Masterimage says it also plans to allow punters to film their own 3D content on their mobiles. Watch this 3D space.