The 3DS 3D: How does it work?

I call this piece… 3Derp

3D is great. No matter whether it hurts your eyes or whatever, you cannot deny that it leads to a much larger feeling of immersion in movies and games.

I Hate Glasses.

3DTV’s are already on the market and work brilliantly, however, they all come with one major drawback. Glasses, glasses, glasses. For someone like me who doesn’t wear glasses, I find it uncomfortable to wear them. They also seem to decrease the brightness of the media that’s being viewed. These are all contributing factors as to why I haven’t bought a 3DTV.

You may as well wait for the “glassless” ones. We all know they are not “that” far away, and that they will be brilliant. I urge you to not spend money on any current screens.

Ohhh baby… what id do for you 😛

The beginnings of this technology can be seen in the 3DS. I have spoke to many people regarding the 3DS and they write it off without even seeing the 3D effect. They often proclaim “how can it work?” or “it’s bullshit”. Ive taken some of these people to the shop and shown them the console just to prove how good it really is.

Reggie… such a babe 😉

The obvious question then always seems to surface, “How does it work?”. Well, I have that exact answer for you, and I’m going to try and express it in as easy a way as I can. With technical jargon kept to a minimum.

What is it called?

The technology used in the 3DS is used a “Parallax Barrier”. It was initially though up by Auguste Berthier and then popularized by Frederic E. Ive and commercialized by Sharp.


How does it work?
To put it in as basic terms as possible, there is a barrier in front of the screen that only allows your eyes to see a certain part of the image.

Imagine looking through a 10cm gap from a metre or so away. If you close one eye, you will see a certain image behind the gap and then if you switch eyes you will see something slightly different (your left eye will see more on the right side behind the gap for example).

The barrier is in a fixed position which means that the pixels on the 3DS are always shown to specific spots in conjunction with the console itself. That’s why you must always stay in a certain spot to get the best effect. As you turn down the 3D the 2 split images behind the barriers are slowly merged into one, decreasing the 3D effect.


The Good 🙂

– Looks great
– You cant lose a parallax barrier, you can lose glasses.
– If several could be used at once, many could use the device
– has potential (e.g usage of eye tracking would make it 100% accurate)



And the Bad… Great Scott!!!!

– Hurts some peoples eyes
– Expensive
– Can only cater 1 person at the moment
– No chance of using in a car, messes up the whole point of being “portable”


So guys, what is your standpoint on 3D as a technology, and do you like the 3DS at all?

Kyle Selman, 19, UK, Going to Bath University to study Computer Science in September. Do a lot of gaming on Xbox 360 and PC. Enjoy programming and trying to learn more! I love playing games. I love making games. I love talking about games. I love thinking about how games work. I am some sort of video game analyst.