System Upgrade - Sharp 3D Monitor
autostereo 3D LCD monitor and laptops -
I decided to try the
LL-151-3D monitor ($450 + shipping ... on sale).
This autostereoscopic monitor (means "glasses not required") displays left and right
stereo pairs at the same time and in such a way that
each eye sees only one of the images. (This is way cool.)
October 12, 2006
It is even possible for several people to see the images in stereo at the same time.
(Possible ... but not really useful.)
How it Works
Many of you have seen the stereo postcards covered with a sheet
of lenticular plastic - plastic with vertical ribs that
make half the image visible to one eye and the other half visible to the other.
Because the "image" is actually a combination of 2 separate images,
your eyes will see the 2 original images.
You "see" depth because the original images were taken from slightly different locations
(just like your eyes are in 2 separate locations) and your brain merges the 2 images
into a single stereo view.
In the case of the Sharp stereo monitor, the lenticular lens is replaced with
a light collimator placed behind the screen. However, the effect is the same -
light from half the pixels on the screen goes to one eye and the light passing
through the other pixels goes to the other.
In both scenarios, part of the trick is to take 2 separate pictures, cut them into
narrow vertical strips, and then to recombine them into a single picture
by selecting a vertical strip from one image and then the other and
continuing in that way until a complete image is produced.
(This process looses one half the horizontal resolution of the original images.)
The basic install was straight forward - plug it in, Windows automatically installed 2 drivers
(presumably, the video driver and the USB driver), turn it on, and it worked.
(That's right, the monitor was detected by Windows BEFORE I turned it on.)
However, the software did not work. (2 additional drivers had to be manually installed ...
The provided CD comes with several programs - 2 of them require
the .NET runtime (now there's a bad idea).
SHARP SmartStereo Photo Editor
When I try to run it I see
Application has generated an exception that could not be handled.
SHARP SmartStereo Slide Show - Demo
Presumably, this allows you to display stereo images.
In fact, when you right click an image, this is one of the options.
Unfortunately, it does not run
File or assembly name Sharp.SmartStereo.Devices, or one of its dependencies, was not found.
However, Sharp.SmartStereo.Devices.dll is in the same directory as the program.
Based on my analysis, SSDLIB.DLL is missing.
Apparently, it *should* have been installed via D:\3D\SSD\ENGLISH\SSDMAN.MSI.
Well, thanks to the data I discovered, I learned that I had only performed a partial
installation. That's right, the manual says that the installation instructions
are in D:\3D\SSD\ENGLISH\READMEE.TXT. (There really are 2 E's)
Based on that, I manually installed SsdMan.msi and SsdComp.msi
(by double clicking on them,
in that order - the order is important).
At that point the software worked fine ... without errors.
I left the error descriptions above because they must be common enough that they SHOULD have been on the
support web site, in the manual, or at least found via Google.
This way, anyone else will have a clue and not waste a day debugging.
SHARP SmartStereo Photo Editor
This allows you to select separate left and right images and to save
the combination as a single jpg. There are a few settings that you can control ...
but they are no big deal.
This must be done to prepare individual images for the SmartStereo slide show.
- You can rotate either image
- You can crop the images
SHARP SmartStereo Slide Show - Demo
The Demo displays a group of images- most of them work ok.
To produce your own slide show,
select a few images (or a directory) in Windows Explorer, right click,
and run the slide show.
This only works with images that contain both the left and right portions.
If you have separate left and right images, you must first combine them
using the SHARP SmartStereo Photo Editor.
I have used this program with images I took using
a digital SLR camera with special stereo lens
that captures both left and right images on a single frame ...
it looks great. (Close ups are a bit of a problem ... but they still work.)
However, this program has a problem with scanned stereo cards.
Basically, each card image usually contains
the 2 images and the left and right card borders.
Since the software merely cuts the complete image in half and aligns the 2 halves,
the Left and Right Images
are actually too far apart.
(I can fuse them by crossing my eyes, but several other people have
This software would be much better if it
allowed the user to control the relative horizontal offset of the
|Program commands from the Users Guide
|Right cursor key ||Next image
|Left cursor key ||Previous image
|Enter ||Full screen mode on/off (just changes image size)
|Space ||Automatically cycle images on/off
|Up cursor key ||Increase image viewing duration
|Down cursor key ||Decrease image viewing duration
Initially, the monitor was too bright -
even with the brightness control turned down all the way,
the monitor was still way too bright.
The scroll bars all but disappeared. It was difficult to make out buttons and edit blocks.
Using Thunderbird (a free email reader) it was all but impossible to see the
highlight bar that indicates which email is being read.
The fix turned out to be fairly simple (it only took 2 weeks to stumble on to it).
In the monitor menu, select Gain Control and set it to auto.
On my system, this changed the following settings
All products have some negatives (listing them is one of the things that makes this site useful).
I don't consider any of these to be show stoppers,
in fact I typed this page using the stereo monitor in normal mode (yes, it was very bright - now its fixed)
... but the user should know this information
before buying the monitor.
- Text is extremely hard to read in stereo mode
- Because of the technology used to produce the stereo effect, normal text is seen with color fringing
when the monitor is in stereo mode. This is not really a big deal, but I do suggest having 2 screens
on the computer - one for text and the second for stereo.
- The monitor requires a USB connection
- For video, the monitor plugs into a regular video port. However, for software to
automatically switch to stereo mode, a separate USB connection is made ... thus,
consuming one port on your system. With towers, this is usually not a big deal ...
but my laptop only has 3 ... and I use them all.
If I had my way, the monitor would have an integrated USB hub so that you would actually
GAIN ports instead of loosing one. (Both of the external USB 2.0 hubs I already have cause the system to actually
run so slow that I refuse to use them.)
- The 3D works ... but
- In many ways, shutter glasses are better than this monitor
However, if you have a display somewhere for people to just walk by and look ...
this is a SUPER monitor BECAUSE it does not require glasses.
- If your eyes are not in exactly the right spot, there are numerous artifacts - vertical dark bars
and double images being the most noticeable
- Moving slightly closer or farther from the monitor is a real issue
- Moving your head side to side effectively reverses the left/right association,
producing a pseudo stereo image
- Shutter glasses provide twice the horizontal resolution (but usually half the vertical resolution)
On the other hand, the viewing zone is very small and some people need instructions
on where to stand (or sit).
- The face plate is very reflective
- When I print stereo pairs, I always request matte finish because reflections spoil the stereo effect.
Reflections from this monitor don't really bother me, but several people have complained
that they make it difficult to focus on the stereo image.
Author: Robert Clemenzi -