Continental turns Leia's lightfield displays into 3D car cockpit: Page 2 of 3

June 20, 2019 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Lightfield 3D display
In cooperation with US company Leia Inc., is automotive supplier Continental developing an innovative cockpit solution: the "Natural 3D Lightfield Instrument Cluster". The solution brings the third dimension into future vehicles.

Leia's Lightfield technology, which Continental uses in its 3D display, does not require a head tracker camera - a practical and cost-saving advantage. For the first time, passengers in the passenger seat and rear seats can also experience the same 3D image from their sitting positions.

But there is another leap in quality that sets the new system apart from earlier 3D processes: The 3D image of the Lightfield display consists of a total of eight perspectives of the same object, which can vary slightly, depending on the viewing position. Thus, the view of the Lightfield display "wanders" with every change in the viewer's viewing angle. In this way, an exceptionally natural reproduction of information on the display is possible, promises Continental.

This is how Lightfield technology works. (C) Continental

In terms of technology, the decisive factor for this quality is a newly developed light guide with nanostructures. The system does not work with refraction, but with diffraction; the light is directed exactly where it is needed for the optimal 3D effect.

Continental is now adapting Leia's existing technology for use in vehicles. Until recently, either parallax barriers or lenticular techniques were used to create a spectacle-free 3D effect. The 3D effect was achieved by a special method of blocking or refracting light. However, Parallax barrier systems in particular only offer applications for a single user because a head tracker system is required to adjust the 3D views to the exact head position of the viewer. When used for multiple users, including passengers and passengers in the back seats, these systems can also have a negative impact on perceived image quality and luminous efficacy, similar to a filter.

From Continental's point of view, the automotive industry attaches great importance to displaying information of the highest quality. The 3D lightfield application should therefore offer a decisive evolutionary step compared to conventional 3D displays. The system works even in direct sunlight, they say.

In terms of technology, the "Natural 3D Instrument Cluster" is based on Leia’s Diffractive Lightfield Backlighting (DLB). A light guide with diffraction gratings and nanostructures under the display panel ensures precise diffraction of the light and thus a natural 3D effect. The light guide module can be integrated into many commercially available displays. The Leia nanofabrication process can be used for large series and mass production. The company has combined advanced lithography on a large-volume substrate with high yield and competitive costs. It was able to draw on HP's experience.

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