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Volume 495 Issue 7441, 21 March 2013

Glasses-free three-dimensional (3D) displays could revolutionize areas such as data visualization, medical training and entertainment, particularly if adapted to mobile devices. Holography can provide ideal 3D viewing but is too slow or expensive for many applications. Multiview approaches are the alternative, exploiting various geometric optical tricks to create 3D images that can be viewed from many directions at the same time. A team working at Hewlett-Packards laboratories in Palo Alto has developed a new multiview 3D display that is particularly well suited to mobile devices, which require thin displays with high spatial resolution and a wide-angle view zone. Central to the new device is a set of directional grating pixels, associated with different views and colours, etched on the backlight surface. The display uses an LED-lit backlight very similar to those in use in LCD screens today, and is demonstrated in action in transparent hand-held prototypes showing animated sequences of up to six different 200-view images at a resolution of 127 pixels per inch. The cover image represents a 3D image from a passively modulated backlight.


  • Editorial |

    The burning off of gas during oil extraction is environmentally unsound and unjustifiable. The United States should instead be seeking to make use of this natural resource.

  • Editorial |

    Successes at last week’s wildlife-trade treaty meeting must be backed up with action.

  • Editorial |

    Latest pontiff looks to enhance social relevance of Catholic Church.

World View

  • World View |

    The new head of the European Research Council will have more power and focus than former presidents, says Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker.

    • Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker

Research Highlights

Seven Days

  • Seven Days |

    The week in science: AstraZeneca cuts research posts as part of restructuring plans; Japan recovers methane from seabed hydrates; and Internet innovators win million-pound prize.




News Feature

  • News Feature |

    As an early adopter of astronomical technology, Andrea Ghez is revealing secrets about the giant black hole at the Galaxy's centre.

    • Ann Finkbeiner
  • News Feature |

    The world's longest-running experiments remind us that science is a marathon, not a sprint.

    • Brian Owens


  • Comment |

    Planetary stability must be integrated with United Nations targets to fight poverty and secure human well-being, argue David Griggs and colleagues.

    • David Griggs
    • Mark Stafford-Smith
    • Ian Noble
  • Comment |

    Roads are proliferating across the planet. Located and designed wisely, they can help rather than harm the environment, argue William F. Laurance and Andrew Balmford.

    • William F. Laurance
    • Andrew Balmford

Books & Arts


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    A glasses-free three-dimensional display technology has been invented that may be an exciting alternative to current solutions for mobile devices. It makes use of an optical effect known to school physics students. See Letter p.348

    • Neil A. Dodgson
  • News & Views |

    Haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells move from the bone marrow into the circulation to replenish normal blood-cell levels. Inhibiting a prostaglandin-mediated signalling pathway may promote this process. See Letter p.365

    • Jason M. Butler
    • Shahin Rafii
  • News & Views |

    The finding that global mass loss from landscapes is dominated by physical erosion and chemical weathering from flat terrain, rather than from mountains, challenges our understanding of how Earth's surface evolves.

    • James W. Kirchner
    • Ken L. Ferrier
  • News & Views |

    Mutations in the promoter sequence of the gene encoding a component of the enzyme telomerase have been discovered in patients with melanoma, suggesting that mutations in this regulatory region can drive tumour development.

    • E. Elizabeth Patton
    • Lea Harrington
  • News & Views |

    Geometrical frustration results from an incompatibility between the spatial arrangement of a system's constituents and the interactions between them. The effect has now been observed in a triangular triple quantum dot.

    • Sabine Andergassen
  • News & Views |

    The versatility of RNA seems limitless. The latest surprise comes from circular RNAs, which are found to counteract the function of another class of regulatory RNA — the microRNAs. See Article p.333 & Letter p.384

    • Kenneth S. Kosik
  • News & Views |

    Bright, gravitationally magnified galaxies have been found across a wide span of cosmic time. The first results from the still-growing ALMA telescope show its power to reveal these galaxies' redshifts and internal structure. See Letter p.344

    • Andrew W. Blain
  • News & Views |

    Advances in population genetics and genome sequencing have made it possible to identify anonymous fragments of DNA that have undergone selection. This yields some evolutionary answers, and a panoply of puzzles. See Letter p.360

    • Gregory S. Barsh
    • Leif Andersson



  • Letter |

    A spectroscopic redshift survey of extraordinarily bright millimetre-wave-selected sources of carbon monoxide line emission — originating from star-forming molecular gas — shows that at least ten of these sources lie at redshifts greater than four, indicating that the fraction of dusty starburst galaxies at high redshifts is greater than previously thought.

    • J. D. Vieira
    • D. P. Marrone
    • R. Williamson
  • Letter |

    A multiview, dynamic three-dimensional display suitable for mobile devices is achieved by using a set of directional grating pixels etched on the backlight surface; such glasses-free displays could revolutionize areas such as data visualization, medical training and entertainment.

    • David Fattal
    • Zhen Peng
    • Raymond G. Beausoleil
  • Letter |

    A global synthesis of stable nitrogen isotopic values in lacustrine sediments indicates a period of declining enrichment from 15,000 to 7,000 years before present, probably in response to terrestrial carbon sequestration.

    • Kendra K. McLauchlan
    • Joseph J. Williams
    • Elizabeth S. Jeffers
  • Letter |

    Sea-floor magnetotelluric data are used to image the electrical conductivity of the lithosphere–asthenosphere boundary offshore of Nicaragua; a high-conductivity layer confined to depths of 45–70 kilometres is found, interpreted to be a partially molten channel of low viscosity.

    • S. Naif
    • K. Key
    • R. L. Evans
  • Letter |

    Endogenous prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a potent regulator of haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) retention in the bone marrow; inhibition of endogenous PGE2 signalling by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs results in enhanced HSC and haematopoietic progenitor cell mobility via E-prostanoid 4 (EP4) receptor antagonism.

    • Jonathan Hoggatt
    • Khalid S. Mohammad
    • Louis M. Pelus
  • Letter |

    The authors show that the pluripotency factor NANOG interacts with TET1 and TET2 methylcytosine hydroxylases, and that the hydroxylation of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine enhances the efficiency of somatic cell reprogramming in a NANOG-dependent manner.

    • Yael Costa
    • Junjun Ding
    • Jianlong Wang
  • Letter |

    A natural circular RNA termed ciRS-7 is shown to function as a negative regulator of microRNA; ciRS-7 acts as an efficient sponge for the microRNA miR-7, and is resistant to the usual microRNA-mediated degradation pathway of exonucleolytic RNA decay.

    • Thomas B. Hansen
    • Trine I. Jensen
    • Jørgen Kjems
  • Letter |

    This study shows that autophagosomes form at sites of contact between the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria, and that formation requires the SNARE protein syntaxin 17.

    • Maho Hamasaki
    • Nobumichi Furuta
    • Tamotsu Yoshimori




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