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Microsoft's New Lens Promises 3-D TVs Sans Glasses

Everyone's got World Cup Fever this weekend, and for a lucky few that means getting the chance to break in their brand-spankin'-new 3-D TVs as the matches are broadcast from South Africa. For those who haven't taken the 3-D plunge yet -- be it because of prohibitive pricing or not wanting to deal with the dorky glasses -- Microsoft's Applied Sciences group has shared a new glasses-less 3-D display that could herald the adoption of the sets at long last. 
The 2.5 million 3-D HDTV sets that are expected to land in homes this year might seem like a lot, but it's really only a drop in the TV bucket. Early adopters will always exist, but this current wave of next-gen home-theater gear has more standing in its way than price. Who wants to wear those glasses? (Especially when most 3-D TV packages only come with two pairs, with extras running at least $50 a pop.) Doesn't exactly make for the best 3-D World Cup viewing party, now does it?

We've seen small-scale glasses-free 3-D displays before, like the LCD screen on Fuji's 3-D camera that use light directed at each eye individually to deliver a stereoscopic image. Microsoft's display does a similar trick, but on a much larger scale. Their lens has a series of LEDs along the bottom edge of the screen that switch off and on rapidly and at varying angles to control where the light goes.

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