3D displays have a long history, and the most basic principles of 3D display technology, including stereoscopic and autostereoscopic 3D displays, were introduced from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. The history begins with a stereoscope invented by Charles Wheatstone at King’s College London in 1838. It used two mirrors with tilted angles that reflect slightly different perspective images to the left and right eyes to provide binocular depth perception, as shown in Fig. 2.1.
After Wheatstone’s invention, other pioneers, including David Brewster, James Clerk Maxwell, and Gabriel Lippmann, developed the fundamental principles of 3D displays, and David Brewster invented a hand-held lenticular stereoscope.
The concept of an autostereoscopic 3D display was mentioned in James Clerk Maxwell’s paper in 1868.1 After his comments on autostereoscopy, in the early 1900s, several technologies for autostereoscopic 3D display were introduced. In 1908, integral photography, one of the popular methods for autostereoscopic 3D displays, was introduced by Gabriel Lippmann, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in the same year. He introduced the lens-array structure as shown in Fig. 2.2(a) and discussed the principles of image formation in the integral photography method. The modern name for integral photography is integral imaging because today images are captured and generated not by film but by electronic devices. Other autostereoscopic technologies, such as parallaxbarrier and lenticular-lens methods, were also introduced contemporaneously. The parallax-barrier method, which uses vertically aligned opaque bars as shown in Fig. 2.2(b), was first invented by Frederick E. Ives in 1903. In 1915, as shown in Fig. 2.3, autostereoscopy using an array of cylindrical lenses, or lenticular lenses, instead of a parallax barrier was introduced by Walter Hess.
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