David Fattal

​​Real-time, glasses-free 3D imaging​

Non-EPO Countries
Technical field
​​Leia inc​
​​The 3D Lightfield invention, developed by David Fattal, offers users a three-dimensional (3D), real-time experience without using 3D glasses for unprecedented depth and immersion. The invention is a key feature in the Lume Pad, a tablet offering a unique 3D viewing experience.​

With a thin sheet of glass or plastic and an eye-tracking camera,  the 3D Lightfield technology developed by David Fattal and his team transforms a conventional digital screen into a real-time, three-dimensional experience. The sheet, placed underneath an LCD display, has light-emitting diodes fixed along its edge and harnesses the physics of fibre optics (total internal reflection) to trap light. Once the light is trapped, microscopic grooves called ‘diffractive gratings’ in the sheet’s surface diffuse the light rays in various directions, intensities and colours.

These light rays generate a spectrum of subtly different versions of the image across the screen, while a face-tracking camera ensures each eye receives the correct version of that image depending on the angle of the screen. This slight variation in the images received by each eye gives the brain the ‘real-world’ impression of depth, all without 3D glasses.

The 3D effect is generated by illuminating the backlight from the side and when that illumination is switched off, the backlight becomes a completely transparent piece of material. This innovation enables users to switch effortlessly between 3D and 2D.

A moment of inspiration

David Fattal, a theoretical physicist and formerly a part of HP Labs’ Quantum Science Research Team, credits a eureka moment for the 3D Lightfield, demonstrating that discovery requires inspiration as much as perspiration. Working at HP Labs in California, Fattal noticed beams of sunlight illuminating a set of grating couplers that he’d been working on. “It was creating a myriad of beautiful light, multiple colours going in all directions. People were marvelling, and this is when I had the picture of this forest of light rays, and I thought, ‘Hey, this is nice. Paired up with an LCD, we should be able to have a really convincing display.”

He established Leia Inc. in 2014 to commercialise his invention. The company has expanded rapidly and through strategic acquisitions, has built an intellectual property portfolio comprising some 1600 patents, enabling Leia Inc. to move from a purely manufacturing business to one which includes licensing partners. In 2023, the company launched its Lume Pad 2 tablet, offering an immersive viewing experience. The company has also forged partnerships with ​Zoom to create the first 3D video chat; Gameloft, Mozaik Education and China Mobile Migu for content; and ​​​ ​ACER, ZTE, and ​Continental​ amongst others who are integrating the technology into new product lines.​ ​​ 


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