CES: How Toshiba’s Glasses-Free 3D Laptop Works

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Toshiba’s leading the charge into glasses-free 3D. The company is showcasing both glasses-free 3D TVs and laptops here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and while true glasses-free 3D TV is still more than a year from hitting the market, the glasses-free 3D laptops will be available later this year.

I’m still not sold on 3D quite yet, mostly because of the lack of available content and the price premiums applied to 3D-capable products. The premise of not having to use glasses is compelling, too, but it’d be nice to see prices fall as 3D content becomes more commonplace.

Toshiba’s impending glasses-free 3D laptop is sufficiently impressive if you’re in the market for such a product. While most glasses-free 3D technology has so far relied on the user staying dead-center in front of the screen for the feature to work, Toshiba has taken the novel approach of using the laptop’s built-in webcam to track the position of your eyeballs and adjust the delivery of the 3D content you’re watching accordingly. (More on Techland: CES: Buying a Tablet? Wait Until Spring (or Later))

The result is a viewing angle of about 15 to 20 percent—still pretty narrow, but much better than having to keep your head perfectly aligned with the screen. There are a few drawbacks, most notably that only one person can watch at a time and the 3D effect isn’t quite up to snuff with what you’d experience wearing 3D glasses.

But while the idea of glasses-free 3D TV seems to present more of a challenge for users—people generally move around and sit in different angles when watching TV—the promise of glasses-free 3D laptops ought to be a much easier sell. If you’re going to watch a 3D movie or play a 3D game on your laptop, you’re probably going to devote your full attention to it and you’ll be sitting right in front of the screen.

Toshiba’s glasses-free 3D laptops will be available later in the year, though pricing and more detailed availability information are still a while away.

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