Microoptic screen protector turns handheld smart devices into 3D displays

April 19, 2013
Singapore--Temasek Polytechnic and A*STAR have developed a new nanoengineered screen protector that turns the ordinary screens of handheld devices into 3D displays.

Singapore--Temasek Polytechnic (TP) and A*STAR's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering's (IMRE) have developed a new nanoengineered screen protector that turns the ordinary screens of smart handheld devices into 3D displays (http://www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/2010/03/zecotek-says-3d-displays-need-not-cause-eye-fatigue---calls-for-better-industry-standards.html). The microoptic material will be marketed by start-up company Nanoveu, also in Singapore. The makers say that the simple plastic filter gives mobile device users distortion-free, brilliant 3D content with the naked eye--and measures less than 0.1 mm in thickness.

"The filter is essentially a piece of plastic film with about half a million perfectly shaped lenses engineered onto its surface using IMRE's proprietary nanoimprinting technology," said Jaslyn Law, the IMRE scientist who worked with TP on the nanoimprinting product since 2010 to enhance the film’s smoothness, clarity, and transparency compared to other films in the market.

To complement the filter, the team developed Apple iOS and Android software applications (https://www.laserfocusworld.com/optics/article/16555039/picoprojectors-nanosecond-modulation-makes-cellphone-projectors-possible) that allow users to play 3D content through its filter, in both landscape and portrait formats. The applications also allow 2D pictures taken using mobile devices to be converted into 3D. The team will be releasing a software development kit that enables game developers to convert their existing games into 3D versions. The team is also exploring using the technology for security access tokens to decode PIN numbers sent online as an inexpensive and portable alternative to rival bulkier and more expensive battery-operated security tokens, similar to those used by Singapore banks today.

Frank Chan, the TP scientist who led the project, said, "We have taken age old lenticular lens technology that has been around for the last hundred years, modernised it and patented it using nanotechnology." Lenticular lens technology creates a transparent film that retains the brilliance of 3D visuals and effects, which does away with the need for stronger back lighting and saves on battery consumption in mobile devices. The two-year project was initially funded under a National Research Foundation (NRF) Translational R&D Grant in Dec 2010 to look at optimizing the control of the nanostructures and integrating its effects with the complementary software applications.

The start-up Nanoveu is licensing the technology exclusively from ETPL and TP, and is currently securing the interest of local and overseas customers and investors.

SOURCE: A*STAR and Temasek Polytechnic; http://www.imre.a-star.edu.sg/fckeditor/uploadfiles/IMRE-Nanovue%203D%20film_final(2).pdf

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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