Nintendo announces 3DS

Good news! This morning Nintendo announced that it will show off the successor to the Nintendo DSi, the Nintendo 3DS, at the E3 Expo later this year.

The key part of the announcement is that the system will enable 3D viewing without glasses. Fantastic! Mobile devices are the sweet spot for stereo 3D, as far as I’m concerned. You know where the player’s eyes are probably at, so you can do glasses-less 3D using a lenticular display. This can be accomplished with a horizontally-interlaced stereo pair and a film over the screen which directs each of the player’s eyes to the appropriate image. Here’s an image (and link) that demonstrates what I’m talking about:

I don’t have any insider knowledge that this is what Nintendo has done, but it certainly seems like an inexpensive way to do it!

A curious question now is whether Nintendo will stick with a dual screen configuration. It has been very successful for Nintendo, they’ve managed to use it in many interesting ways, so I imagine they’ll continue forward with it. And today’s modern graphics chipsets are very capable of generating the images for two screens. Let’s say the new screens are 480×270 – the system would need to generate 2 screens of that size, but divided into four distinct camera views each of 240×270. This is definitely achievable by platforms such as the impressive Nvidia Tegra 2.

It’ll be a lot of fun seeing what Nintendo comes up with. One thing is certain – there’ll be some magic in there that none of us expect. That’s the genius of Miyamoto… I’ll look forward to seeing what it is!