NTT invention brings 3D images to life without special tools

  • NTT, a Japanese IT services and telecommunications giant, has devised a technology that allows 3D images to be directly observed by the naked eye in augmented reality applications, without even the need for special equipment.
  • Researchers succeeded by using a jumbled array of displays and showing portions of images on each.

NTT’s research not only addresses the limitations of existing technologies, but also opens up new possibilities for future development of augmented reality devices and applications. This is of great significance to promote the advancement of 3D display technology and improve user experience and ease of operation. With the further maturity and commercialisation of the technology, it is expected that this technology will be gradually applied to various practical scenarios in the next few years, bringing new development opportunities to the industry.

–Revel Cheng, BTW reporter

Japan’s IT services and telecoms giant NTT Corporation has devised a tech that makes 3D images visible in augmented reality applications without requiring special equipment or even direct observation.

What happened

NTT’s Communication Science Laboratories was interested in this topic as augmented reality and 3D display today requires precise placement of displays. Preparing images shown on tiled displays is complex, because they appear disjointed if a display array uses screens with bezels.

But NTT’s boffins were aware that that human brain likes to fill in the blanks when offered partial information – a phenomenon known as “transparency perception.” A famous example of transparency perception at work is the Kanizsa Triangle – depicted below in which our gray matter decides it’s seeing a triangle.

The researchers wondered if transparency perception could be brought to bear in public spaces, so that displaying images could be achieved without requiring audiences to stare directly at screens or don augmented reality headsets.

They succeeded by using a jumbled array of displays and showing portions of images on each. It’s apparently possible to do this with a single camera, or use a stereo camera to better estimate depth.

Also read: How 3D internet works: Key technologies and applications

Also read: What is 3D computer vision?

Why its important

The tech isn’t ready for prime time – NTT’s researchers know they need a better understanding of “how the size of the gap and the arrangement of the presented content affect the ease of completing missing parts in the brain.”

They’ll keep exploring that issue, and others, though. Their aim is to create a more flexible technology that allows 3D images to be perceived in a wider range of conditions and a ubiquitous large-scale 3D display that can present a gigantic 3D image by combining various displays, including not only monitors, but also projectors and other display types.

NTT’s new technology makes use of optical interference and transmission effects to allow 3D images to be presented directly in space without the need for special glasses or equipment for the observer. This technological breakthrough has led to important advancements in augmented reality applications, allowing users to interact with virtual elements more naturally, whether in education, healthcare, design, or entertainment.


Revel Cheng

Revel Cheng is an intern news reporter at Blue Tech Wave specialising in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from Nanning Normal University. Send tips to

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