NHK's Integral 3D is the future of Glasses-Free 3D TechnologyNHK is more than just a Japanese broadcasting institution. It also happens to be a hotbed of advanced technological research. The most promising of which must be 8K displays and Integral 3D.
An 8K display is an incredibly high resolution image designed for massive screens. It is so massive, in fact, that 16 1080P images could fit in a single 8K image. This screen size is great for displays that are the size of an entire wall, but there is another application that NHK is pioneering: an advanced 3D technology called Integral 3D.
Integral 3D is a glasses-free 3D technology. It uses a series of tiny micro-lenses to reflect light around. These micro-lenses coat the entire surface of the display. You can think of it a bit like an advanced form of the parallax barrier screens used in the 3DS, but there are hundreds of different perspectives for every single pixel, rather than 6 or so for the entire image.
Those who have managed to see Integral 3D in action claim that it is the most incredible thing they have ever seen. When paired with an 8K display, the image is insdistinguishable from reality: you can move your head areound to change your view, move in for more detail, and every person in the room can view the image without any difficulty.
The problem with Integral 3D right now is that, to achieve the mind-bendingly perfect 3D image, you need hundreds of pixels where once you needed just one. So even 1080P will appear fuzzy on a smallish 30 inch screen.
We still have to see if the technological hurdles of adopting 8K might be too daunting to leap. But regardless, it is nice to see the broadcast industry innovating. I just hope the next generation of technologies have an easier time than HD did.