Sharp has unveiled a notebook computer with a display that gives the illusion of depth and can display objects in three dimensions without the use of special glasses.
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The PC-RD3D is the first computing product from Sharp to feature the 3D liquid crystal display technology. It will target developers writing application software or creating content making use of 3D technology, either in the notebook or subsequent products.
"The notebook is for content developers writing business applications, such as for CAD (computer aided design) or for medical use," said Miyuki Nakayama, a spokeswoman for Sharp in Tokyo.
The machine, which is based on an Intel Pentium 4 processor running at 2.8GHz, has 512Mbytes of memory, a 60G byte hard disc drive and an NVidia GeForce 4 440 Go display adapter.
The display, which can be switched between conventional 2D mode and 3D mode, is a 15-inch model with XGA (Extended Graphics Array) resolution (1,024 pixel by 768 pixel) and is based on a 3D display system developed at Oxford-based Sharp Laboratories of Europe.
It consists of two LCD panels, one mounted on top of the other. The front panel is a conventional thin film transistor LCD and the rear panel is used to control the path of light within the display so that the image reaches the viewer's right and left eyes. For an image to appear to have depth and be in three dimensions, the right and left eye need to receive different information.
In 2D mode the switching panel allows an identical image to be delivered to each eye.
Sharp expected the computer to cost around ¥350,000 (£1,878) when it goes on sale in Japan next month. That's about ¥65,000 (£350) dearer than a similar machine with a standard display.
Sharp intends to have the machine on sale in the US before the end of this year.
Sharp is a founding member of the 3D Consortium, alongside Itochu, NTT Data, Sanyo and Sony. More than 60 other companies are involved. in the consortium.
Martyn Williams writes for IDG News Service