Acer have just announced a brand-new prototype laptop that's essentially a giant Nintendo 3DS. Their new, creator-focused ConceptD Spatial Labs device has a 15.6in stereoscopic 3D display to let animators and artists view their creations in proper 3D without the need for special glasses. It's not really geared up for gaming, but a YouTuber they got in to demonstrate the laptop during their press conference called it "the future". Sorry, I think I hear the phone ringing, let me just get that. "Hello? Is that 2011? Yes, let me tell you about this cool new thing!"
In all seriousness, I'd actually love to see this kind of tech make its way to a gaming laptop. 3D displays aren't new, of course, but they've previously required big chunky glasses to work - and Nvidia binned their 3D Vision support back in 2019. We've also had eye-tracking displays on gaming laptops, too - in fact, many of Dell's fancy Alienware models still come with built-in Tobii eye-trackers so you can control the camera with your own eyeballs. But we've never seen these two strands of tech come together on a laptop quite like this before, and I'm excited to see whether it sticks. Heck, Acer have also launched a special Unreal Engine developer program for their new Spatial Labs tech as well today, so who knows, maybe we'll see some stereoscopic 3D gaming laptops sometime in the future after all.
For now, though, Acer are gearing their concept laptops very much toward content creators. Its eye-tracking stereo camera sits on the very top bezel of the laptop to track your head and eye movement (exactly like the 3DS), and its stereoscopic 3D display will have a 4K resolution to make sure everything appears nice and sharp, and a liquid crystal lenticular lens optically bonded on top of it that, together with its 2D panel, will create that glasses-free 3D effect. It's been designed to work with a wide range of 3D modelling and rendering applications, including Autodesk, ZBrush, Blender, SketchUp and RhinoCeros, allowing users to view their creations in real-time as they 'float' in front of the screen.
The laptop can be used as a regular 2D display as well, although the 3D will switch on automatically when you open up applications in its Spatial Labs Experience Centre. Will it catch on? The folks at Unreal Engine seem to think so:
“Our team is excited about the possibilities with the new ConceptD SpatialLabs prototype notebook and their SpatialLabs Developer Program,” said John Buzzell, the Lead of Enterprise Business Development at Unreal Engine. “When your innovative content and applications combine with the latest in visualization, you get an experience that’s immersive, accessible and engaging.”
In any case, Acer are now accepting applications from developers keen to try out the Spatial Labs prototype, which they'll lend out for free for a period of three months. Would you like to see a stereoscopic 3D gaming laptop? I'm crossing all fingers and toes.