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December 05, 2012

Embedded M2M Solutions - REACH3D Leverages Embedded M2M Technology to Enable No-glasses 3D


In science fiction, there are several standards for future technology. One is video conferencing, as people in the future always seem to call one another on screens rather than phones. Another is 3D technology. We get the impression that entertainment – and communications – in the future will be in three dimensions. Well, we all know that video communications are here, but what about that promised 3D technology? You know, the kind without the glasses? Fortunately, there are companies like REACH3D that specialize in no-glasses 3D technology, and are bringing it to the masses.


Recently, Mills Vautrot, vice president of marketing and strategy at REACH3D, spoke with me about the 3D space, the latest technological advancements in that space and REACH3D’s role in pushing that technology forward. He explained to me, a bit of a 3D novice, that there are two basic types of 3D technology. First is stereoscopic 3D, where there are two images, slightly offset (created by cameras that are offset, like your eyes). In this case, the screen shows both images and glasses serve to put one image in each eye. Most of us are familiar with this sort of tech from our trips to the movie theater.

But the other kind of 3D is called auto-stereoscopic 3D. In AS3D, a lenticular lens placed over the monitor’s screen acts as the glasses. The lenticular technology mated with REACH3D’s software throws out light in a way that has one image hit the left eye and one the right eye.

This technology has become so complex that it can have eight zones (or more!) arranged in an arc around the screen (so eight sweet spots to view the content), with images from eight cameras set up in a semicircle playing eight movies of the same images shot from different angles. A software solution figures out where to place each pixel so that the lens can throw the images properly to people standing in each zone. Vautrot suggests that if you are looking at AS3D and it looks odd, try moving left or right to get a better picture as you may well be standing between two zones. The software intricately weaves all of these pixels into one giant image on the screen. But in the past, if you wanted to change something in this image, you had to start over from scratch. Not any longer, says Vautrot.

The REACH3D technology can create independent zones and play 2D and 3D imagery simultaneously on the screen. For example, a business could have a 2D banner on top, an AS3D video playing in the middle, a 3D ad on one side, and a 3D banner at the bottom! These independent zones can be changed on the fly. If a company wants to move something out of the bottom, or add an RSS feed, for example, it is easy to do. This makes it easier to monetize the screen real estate, and sign owners can now plan and/or sell advertising with 3D technology the way they do with 2D tech, all thanks to REACH3D’s advanced AS3D player technology.

Vautrot suggests that 3D advertising provides many benefits. No-glasses-3D images stop people in their tracks. Studies show that information presented in 3D is easier for our minds to hold on to, and we can retain it longer and retrieve it more easily. Finally, people report having positive experiences with 3D, finding it “cool” and many times transferring that “cool-ness” onto the product being advertised.

M2M technology plays an important role in providing a stable platform for these 3D advertisements. It provides security, a strong signal and constant uptime. If there is a problem, the cell network goes down after the LAN and Wi-Fi are already down. This allows companies to be confident that the ads are always playing. M2M tech allows companies to place 3D digital signage wherever they wish, and frees up staff from having to manage the sign. The signs can be placed in stores, malls, etc. without restrictions on where they can go by where a LAN cable or wi-Fi signal can reach or the cost of running that cable, etc .

Managers can just plug in the hardware, push a button and walk away. The tech will find the signal, call back to the servers and start playing, even calling back intermittently to check for new content. REACH3D chose to work with Sprint (News - Alert) because of the quality and efficiency of its network, and the fact that Sprint was willing to act on the value it saw in REACH3D’s technology. Sprint has been extremely supportive and easy to work with throughout the relationship between the two companies.

Right now, REACH3D’s tech can be seen in Las Vegas, Hawaii and was part of Visa’s Olympic display. In the future, Vautrot expects to see it in movie theaters, malls and convenience stores.

Want to learn more about M2M technologies? Don’t miss the M2M Evolution Conference, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at M2M Evolution Conference. Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Brooke Neuman


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