A team of researchers at the University of Bristol recently unveiled a new type of display that provides an illusion of depth. Unlike today’s 2D screens which enable viewers to see 3D images, the prototype consists of with nine separate screens arranged in a 3 x 3 configuration that physically tilt and move on its several axes. It measures around 50% smaller than the display of a 10-inch tablet. The researchers, however, do not discount the possibility of having more individual screens than the prototype.
The 3D screen is envisioned to give a more realistic representation of physical objects. Landscapes, for instance, will be better reflected on this screen as the display mimics the undulation of terrain.
According to Sriram Subramanian, one of the members of the team of scientists, the technology may be used in “collaboration, terrain modeling, 3D video that is beyond auto-stereoscopic 3D and tangible gaming.” It is said that during collaboration, half of the device will tilt towards one user while the other half towards another. The central screen, however, will remain blank.
In the study, the researchers looked into how users would interact with such kind of display. The study revealed that instead of on-screen gestures, which are popular on flat displays, mid-air gestures are more preferable on the tilt 3D screen. Moreover, the study found that people who tried the tilt 3D screen tended to associate it with other types of 3D displays, such as those found in theatres.
Subramanian believes that the device will have many uses. However, they also recognize that “we need to establish whether users can relate to the new experiences and advantages of using such a device.”
The prototype was presented at the MobileHCI 2012 conference held in San Francisco from September 21 to 24. The focus of the conference is Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services. The event gathers designers, practicioners, developers and academicians to talk about the issues concerning interaction.