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Gary D. Sharp

3D Digital Cinema

U.S. Patent No. 5,751,384
Inducted in 2015
Born Sept. 25, 1962

Gary Sharp and Kristina Johnson invented polarization-control technology used in products such as projection televisions, front-projection displays, and most 3D digital cinema installations today. In 1995, Sharp and Johnson co-founded ColorLink to commercialize applications for a patented multi-layer stack of retardation films, using polarization to generate saturated colors. This was an enabling technology for liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCOS) TVs and projectors, though expanding expertise in polarization control resulted in inventions serving several industries.

In 2005, ColorLink developed state-of-the-art polarization switches and provided eyewear used in the first 100 3D digital cinema installations. In 2007, ColorLink was acquired by RealD. As Chief Technology Officer at RealD, Sharp created a second generation product delivering twice the 3D brightness and also enabled 3D for liquid-crystal based digital cinema projectors. These systems, in combination with Avatar in 2010, ignited the 3D industry. Today over 25,000 RealD screens are in U.S. cinemas.

Sharp attended UC San Diego, CSU Long Beach, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. As a Ph.D. student in Boulder, he co-founded Boulder Nonlinear Systems where he was President until 1998. He holds over 90 U.S. patents, continues to invent, and is active in Boulder as a master's road-bike racer.

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