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Last Updated: Monday, 30 June, 2003, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
3D displays go on show
Hamleys logo, BBC
The London toyshop is using the screens
A British technology firm has found a way to project moving 3D images that can be seen without special glasses.

The novel projection system makes images appear to float between a viewer and a screen.

Floating Image, creators of the 3D system, say its screens will eventually be able to show 2D TV too, making it possible to add pop out extras to familiar shows.

The technology is already being used in some shops to tempt consumers and from Tuesday will start being used in Hamleys toy shop in London.

Screen games

The Floating Image system works by filming scenes in a particular way and then projecting them using a specially designed screen.

Michele Fabian-Jones, executive producer at Floating Image, said shooting sequences for its projection system was much easier than for Imax movies or 3D films that present a separate image to each eye.

"It's like traditional filming and uses one camera," she said, "the filming technique is in keeping with what we have been doing for years."

Lego men, Lego
Lego is using the 3D screens in its stores
She said movie studios could easily shoot extra 3D sequences for 2D films and drop them in at key moments in a story.

Computer games could easily be re-purposed to work with a Floating Image screen, she said.

Floating Image is reluctant to release details of the screen used to project images until patents have been granted.

Ms Fabian-Jones said the screen fooled the eye into creating depth out of a series of images shot to produce an illusion of floating, solid 3D moving images.

The size of the image that viewers see is dependent on the dimensions of the projecting screen and where viewers stand in front of it.

Viewers have far more freedom to move around and explore the 3D floating images than with many other systems.

Ms Fabian-Jones said Floating Image was working on larger screens for big venues as well as smaller displays that could be used in shops to tempt people into stopping, browsing and buying.

The Lego shop in Milton Keynes is already using a Floating Image screen and famous London toyshop Hamleys is due to take delivery of a Floating Image screen this week to promote some of its in-store wares.

Floating Image's development team is headed by veteran special effects creator David Lane, who is also currently working on the TV series of Captain Scarlet.

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