Local invention lets you watch 3-D movies on phones

FANS of 3-D movies can ditch those red-and-blue plastic glasses - with the help of a Singaporean invention that lets them view their favourite flicks on ordinary smartphones.

A user just has to paste a plastic film over the screen of his handset to see images in three dimensions.

Although similar products are available in other countries, EyeFly3D is said to be the first in the world to work in either portrait or landscape mode.

It is also believed to be the only one that does not affect the quality of 2-D images.

The 0.1mm-thick film - which doubles as a screen protector - was developed over nine months by Temasek Polytechnic and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

It contains half a million lenses, which are printed onto its surface using nano-imprinting technology created at A*Star's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. These processes are pending patent.

"Other 3-D films in the market darken the screen and distort 2-D images," said Mr Alfred Chong, founder and chief executive of Singaporean start-up Nanoveu.

"EyeFly3D is a game-changer. It allows just about anyone with a smartphone to view 3-D on their personal device without having to wear 3D glasses."

Mr Chong's five-month-old business will be taking the invention to global markets with $600,000 it raised from venture capital company Beacon New Ventures and other private investors.

Market research firm Gartner has predicted that close to one billion smartphones will be sold this year, up from about 800 million last year.

"It would be a substantial gain if we could even get 1 per cent of this market," said Mr Chong.

To use the device, customers must first download two applications - EyeFly3D Image and EyeFly3D Video. The video app has a built-in link to YouTube, so users can search for 3-D clips.

To access content on other websites, such as ESPN 3-D or Disney 3D, they must first download the videos to their personal computer and then transfer them to their phones using iTunes.

The EyeFly3D film and apps are available for the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod Touch. The iPad version will be out in two or three months, while Android editions are also in the pipeline.

Nanoveu has started taking pre-orders for the EyeFly3D, which retails for US$34.95 ($43), on its website. EpiCentre will also sell it from mid-April.

itham@sph.com.sg