Articles: Monitors

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Talking about the future of 3D graphics on the personal computer, some people argue that the picture displayed by the monitor can be as detailed as to be indistinguishable from reality provided there are enough polygons and light sources per frame. Alas, it cannot. I don’t mean this level of detail is impossible. The real picture just has one important difference. As opposed to the monitor’s screen, it is three-dimensional. Until we manage to produce a 3D picture on the computer monitor, telling it from reality won’t be difficult.

The situation isn’t hopeless, though. Today I am going to introduce to you the Trimon ZM-M220W monitor from Zalman that can produce a truly 3D picture.

I’d like to dwell upon the theory and history of the problem first.

We have three-dimensional vision, i.e. the ability to estimate the distance to the objects we see, thanks to our two eyes. Each eye sees the object from its own point of view, and the brain compares the two pictures and calculates the distances basing on the differences.

So, in order to “deceive” our eyes and make them see the third dimension on the monitor’s two-dimensional screen it is necessary to provide an individual picture for each eye.

The direct way to achieve this is to wear eyeglasses (or a Virtual Reality helmet) with two small displays opposite the eyes. This is a universal but technically complex solution. The whole contraption is too bulky and heavy and it is hard to make the displays small yet with a high resolution. As a result, such helmets either have a resolution of 640x480 or cost enormous money (there are exceptions that combine both these drawbacks in one device).

A simpler way is to make the monitor display two pictures, for each eye, and use eyeglasses to separate them.

The classic and well-known solution is to use colored eyeglasses, for example with red and blue glasses. A 3D picture prepared for such eyeglasses contains two images, for the left and right eye, but one is red and another is blue. Such a picture doesn’t look appealing when viewed with a naked eye:

But the blue lens prevents the corresponding eye from seeing red whereas the red lens prevents the other eye from seeing blue. As a result, each eye sees only the picture it is meant to see, which helps achieve the 3D effect.

The drawback of the two-colored glasses is obvious. There is no talking about color reproduction when you use them. Although such stereo-pictures can be colored, their colors are dull and unexciting.

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