File this under: cool MIT projects. You read that right, “instead of the complex hardware required to produce holograms, the Media Lab system uses several layers of liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), the technology currently found in most flat-panel TVs.” Continue reading for a video and more information.

The difference between the pseudo 3D that we see while wearing those ridiculous glasses at the movies and actual 3D images is perspective. With pseudo 3D, you get a sense of depth, that some things are farther away and some things are nearer. With actual 3D, you get the depth thing, but you can also view multiple perspectives of an object by changing your position relative to the screen. This is what pseudo 3D doesn’t do, and what MIT researchers are trying to make happen with their new display.

In order to duplicate some of the best features of holographic TV (multiple perspectives, no glasses) without actually having to make a holographic TV, MIT is instead using a series of LCD panels stacked on top one another that it’s calling a Tensor Display. The bottom LCD displays a series of patterns that interact with slightly different patterns from a second LCD on top to create 3D images. By refreshing the displays 1,000 times every second, the system can project hundreds of perspectives at once, allowing you to move around and see different things from different angles.

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