3D Technology to become Portable

April 19, 2010
By mcb28 BRONZE, Roslyn, New York
mcb28 BRONZE, Roslyn, New York
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Americans are becoming increasingly surrounded by 3D technology. The recent successes of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland have inspired companies to scramble to release 3D TVs and movies. The next likely step is 3D on the go, but whether or not it is feasible is yet to be determined.

3D is supposedly the next big thing in entertainment. Movies and TV can bring 3D to an audience, provided that they stay in their living rooms or local cinemas. However, Americans lead busy lives, and much of the time they spend entertaining themselves they are on the move. Devices such as iPods, laptops, and portable game platforms cater specifically to people who wish to be entertained while commuting and doing other things outside of the home.

One likely source of portable 3D technology is the laptop. At the moment, the widespread use of 3D computers and internet seem to be far off. High definition LCD monitors are necessary to display the vast array of shades, hues, and shadows needed for 3D, and few computers outside of the Pentagon have the processing power to generate 3D images. Laptops, which typically have less computing power, are even less likely to be able to tap into 3D technology any time soon. However, the few people whose hardware meets 3D’s demanding system requirements were able to view coverage of the Masters, the first 3D sporting event, online. Despite the small audience, John Kent of I.B.M., in an interview with the New York Times claimed that, “This is more about raising the bar and showing what’s possible.” The tournament certainly did not disappoint, with comments on the Masters website including the likes of “Beautiful footage,” and, “Amazing to watch in 3d. Would love to see more 3d content. Absolutely stunning!”

Perhaps the Masters was a rare spectacle of 3D coverage, or perhaps it offers a view into the future, in which every computer can display 3D images, and without the cumbersome glasses required by 3D movies and TVs. Sean Koehl of Intel Labs, claims the latter. He asserts, according to Computerworld, that, “The Internet may never go fully 3-D, but making 3-D environments broadly accessible is probably capable within five years." Whether or not Koehl is correct, those with high-powered PCs can surely look forward to viewing sporting events and other spectacles in 3D.

Nintendo has released a more definite plan for a portable 3D system. The Nintendo 3DS, is set to be unveiled in June and hit stores within a year. The specs on this 3D version of Nintendo’s popular handheld gaming device have not been revealed, but no glasses will be required.

Sharp, another Japanese company has announced that their 3D cell phone will be released to the public sometime in the summer. Sharp’s parallax barrier system, which, according to the technology website, Unthinkable, has been in development for at least ten years. The technology relies on separating the image for each eye using tiny, vertical slits in the screen, creating the false perception of depth. The drawback is that there is no wide viewing angle, so the technology is not suitable for Sharp TVs, as only one or two people, directly in front of the device, would be able to view the 3D display. However, phones, which are typically viewed by only one person, are a feasible outlet for this technology.

Apple has taken a different route than other developers of portable 3D devices. Unlike the other devices mentioned in this article, Apple’s device does require 3D glasses. Apple’s tentatively titled, iSpecs, are 3D “specs” that can be hooked up to an iPod or iPhone. A lens in the glasses displays the video being watched in front of the viewer’s eyes. The illusion of 3D is created by the lens, which splits the image in two, one for each eye, creating depth and angles, according to Channel News. However, the iSpecs require that the user parade around in public with bulky, odd-looking glasses over his eyes. If one is willing to accept the unavoidable staring of strangers, he must also take safety into consideration. The user of the iSpecs sees only the movie he is playing, not his surroundings, making him liable to bump into people and trip over obstacles. Apple hopes to counteract this by adding infrared sensors and cameras to the iSpecs. When the infrared sensors detect the nearby presence of a person, the feed from the camera will pop up, allowing the user to see what is going on in front of him.

Electronics companies have proven to be as eager to develop new 3D technology as consumers are to buy it. After years of development and failed starts, the era of 3D is finally upon us. Should portable 3D devices meet with the same success as 3D movies and TVs, perhaps everyone will be sporting iSpecs within a few years. A more likely possibility is that 3D internet and phones will remain a novelty while technology is improved and prices are lowered. No matter what, lovers of gadgets can look forward to an increasing number of mobile 3D devices in the coming months.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jun. 2 2010 at 10:49 am

This is horrible it will lead to an increasingly paperless world



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