British education technology show BETT, the annual IT extravaganza that ended in London last week, saw Texas Instruments demonstrate a version of its single-beam 3D projector system designed especially for schools. The projector system works by beaming left-eye and right-eye images alternately from the same DLP chip.
According to Texas Instruments, projectors that use the system can be expected from manufacturers including Optoma, Vivitek, Acer, BenQ, NEC, Sharp and Vivitek in the next three months.
Demonstrating the latest 3D-ready projector technology at BETT, the firm's DLP product manager, Roger Carver, pointed out that people had to buy double-stacked projectors in order to achieve 3D images in the past.
He also suggested that children learn faster with 3D content than the 2D alternative, citing a study by US researchers who found a 30 per cent improvement in test scores among students who had been taught in 3D.
Kathryn Macauley, ICT director at Reading's Abbey School, backed up the claim and added that her students think 3D technology is "awesome", telling PC Pro she "can't see any reason for schools not to buy a 3D-ready projector".
"There's one example where children have to look at a cube and work out where the red side will be after it's been rotated," she said of her school's trial of the latest technology. "3D really helps them visualise it, much more than 2D. You can't do that in a book."
Projector manufacturer NEC was also at BETT, demonstrating a new package - developed with interactive 3D software experts EON Reality - that includes its new 3D-ready DLP projector and a guide to using "interactive 3D simulations" in the classroom.
"The education market has been waiting a long time for affordable interactive 3D development projection systems," remarked Pierre-Julien Barraud from EON Reality. "By combining our software products with the latest NEC projectors, we are able to provide education institutions with a complete low-cost solution that will impact every classroom's learning environment like never before."
NEC's Ulf Greiner agreed, commenting: "With this new lower-cost technology we aim to move into many new markets where 3D projections are highly desired but where, to date, cost has been the limiting factor."
BETT was also the setting for Panasonic's unveiling of its "complete education solution package", featuring the UB-T880 elite Panaboard with its integrated short-throw projector. Experts have noted its particular suitability for students with special needs or visual impairments who need information on the board to be clear and distraction-free.