Sony clip-on screen attachment makes Vaio laptops 3D

The Sony panel hooks onto the front of recent Vaios and allows for 3D viewing of Blu-ray movies and pictures without glasses

Sony said Tuesday it will sell a screen attachment for its Vaio laptops that allows users to view 3D movies and images without glasses.

The clear panel comes in two models for its S and C series Vaios that went on sale earlier this year, and works with Blu-ray movies as well as digital images in the MPO, or multi-picture, format.

It will go on sale in Japan and Europe in October, with no release date set for the U.S., according to Sony spokeswoman Noriko Shoji.

The screen has a suggested retail price in Japan of 13,000 yen (US$171).

It uses lenticular technology that reflects different images to each eye, providing a visual depth-of-field effect. This is common in glasses-free 3D devices, such as the top screen of Nintendo's 3DS handheld game console and some TV sets.

As slight changes in the viewing angle can lessen or ruin the 3D effect, the Sony product uses the Vaio's built-in camera with facial recognition software to track where the viewer is and adjust the image accordingly. Toshiba employs a similar technology in a Qosmio laptop it launched earlier this year, calling it "Face Tracking."

Pictronics, a Japanese company, is marketing a general-use 3D film called Pic3D that can be attached to the LCD screens of TVs, iPads and iPhones. It was due to launch in August, but has yet to go on sale.

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