Next Level: Apple exploring interactive, glasses-free 3D holographic displays

Next Level: Apple exploring interactive, glasses-free 3D holographic displays
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As 3D is pushed as the next big thing in Hollywood films and home theater, Apple has show interest in a three-dimensional interactive experience that would allow multiple users to manipulate holographic 3D objects in space without the need for special glasses or headgear.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week revealed a new patent application from Apple. Originally filed on Jan. 14 of 2010, the application entitled “Three-Dimensional Display System” describes a projection screen with an “angularly responsive reflective surface.”

The 18-page filing is very similar to another 25-page filing discovered by AppleInsider in 2008. But in addition to advanced 3D technology, Apple’s latest filing describes a new and advanced method of multi-touch input, through manipulation of three-dimensional holograms that can be touched by a user.

The new application notes that while 3D has been popular at various points over many years, it usually falls out of favor because users are not interested in wearing the eyewear that is often required to render a three-dimensional image for the viewer.

“While these approaches have been generally successful,” the application says, “they have not met with widespread acceptance because observers generally do not like to wear equipment over their eyes. In addition, such approaches are impractical, and essentially unworkable, for projecting a 3D image to one or more casual passerby, to a group of collaborators, or to an entire audience such as when individual projects are desired. Even when identical projections are presented, such situations have required different and relatively undeveloped technologies, such as conventional autostereoscopic displays.”