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Is this the birth of 3D liquid crystal displays?

In this video, you'll see an amazing vision of the high-tech future: A series of videos taken under the microscope, documenting a new kind of pixel that could one day turn your tablet computer into a 3D display. University of Cambridge photonic engineer Tim Wilkinson is combining liquid crystals with nanotechnology in an effort to create realistic 3D displays you wouldn't need clunky glasses to appreciate.

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Wilkinson explains:

Liquid crystal displays are now a commonplace technology from mobile phone displays to wide screen televisions. They are, however, still limited by the shape, size and speed of their pixels when they are used to display video images. This video shows microscope sequences of a new nanotechnology based liquid crystal pixel structure that will allow much higher resolution displays and even true 3D holographic displays to be fabricated in the future.

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The videos are all in real time. The scale varies from video to video, but the little dots which form a grid in most of them are all 10 μm apart (10th of diameter of a hair). Learn more about this project at the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering, or discover similarly awesome projects via Cambridge research.

Music by Intercontinental Music Lab.

This is the fourth in a series of videos called Under the Microscope, which io9 is posting in partnership with scientists at University of Cambridge. Under the Microscope is a collection of videos that capture glimpses of the natural and artificial world in stunning close-up. They will be released every Monday and Thursday for the next couple of months, and you can see the whole series here.

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

Sadly not a lot is explained in this video on how this works. Perhaps he's concerned with patents?

Perhaps it relies only polarized light. Maybe one image of an object is shown with light in one plane of polarization and another image with a slightly shifted parallax is shown on another, you wear glasses with different polarization for each each and then your brain fuses the two images into one solid object?

Or, better, he's finally figured out a way to make LCDs that work like holographic images in panes of transparent material. Maybe the LCD is transparent, fine grained enough and fast enough to show us holographic imagery that updates in real time?