Stereoscopic displays present different images to the two eyes and thereby create a compelling three-dimensional (3D) sensation. They are being developed for numerous applications including cinema, television, virtual prototyping, and medical imaging. However, stereoscopic displays cause perceptual distortions, performance decrements, and visual fatigue. These problems occur because some of the presented depth cues (i.e., perspective and binocular disparity) specify the intended 3D scene while focus cues (blur and accommodation) specify the fixed distance of the display itself. We have developed a stereoscopic display that circumvents these problems. It consists of a fast switchable lens synchronized to the display such that focus cues are nearly correct. The system has great potential for both basic vision research and display applications.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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