Is 3D technology set to revolutionise the way we view our gadgets?

by Administrator | Apr 13, 2010

In recent times, cinema has seen the resurgence of a something that many commentators had said reached its heyday (and mostly died out) in the fifties: 3D. The modern 3D revival is stated by many to have begun in 2003, with the release of James Cameron's Ghosts Of The Abyss, so it seems fitting that 3D technology has reached the technological peak with Cameron's much-lauded film, Avatar, a movie which audiences have described as being unlike anything they have ever seen before.

However, with advances in modern technology, it seems that 3D is not going to remain as something that can only be seen in cinemas.

The first obvious place for 3D to find a home outside of cinemas is in home entertainment systems, which are beginning to make the switch from simple HD (High Definition) to 3D. BluRay 3D is currently in development, and once BluRay 3D players are available on the market, they promise to open up the same 3D experience to watchers at home as is available currently, to moviegoers.

However, just as 3D did not stop at cinemas, it will not stop at home entertainment, as 3D technology is also set to enter the video games market. Sony have stated that they are working on 3D systems for the PS3, and Microsoft are doing likewise with the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 is a particularly exciting platform for 3D technology, as it seems feasible that it can be combined with Microsoft's upcoming motion control system, Project Natal, to create game worlds and video game experiences which are unlike anything games have played before.

However, as exciting as both of those developments are, the possibility of 3D technology making its way into handheld gadgets is even more appealing. There is no concrete timeframe for when the first handheld 3D gadgets will become available, but one of those devices has already been confirmed: the Nintendo 3DS. This is, essentially, a Nintendo DS, but it includes built-in 3D technology. With such a small screen, many people have asked what kind of technology it would use, and whether it would require the now famous 3D glasses. The answer to the second question is no, because the Nintendo 3DS is going to be using, according to many commentators, a technology known as a parallax barrier screen.

This works by using an LCD screen which a layer of prisms on top of the screen, allowing it to direct light in two different directions, so that the right eye receives the light from the right channel, and vice versa for the left eye. This technology is also known as a lenticular screen, and the principle behind it should be very familiar to anyone who has seen lenticular printing. It is perhaps demonstrated best by the rulers that were famous in the eighties, which had an image on top. When the ruler was viewed from a different angle, a different image was seen. Lenticular screens have simply altered this to provide a 3D image on an electronic device, and thus, it allows the user to experience a full 3D image on screen, without needing to wear any special glasses. It seems likely that this technology will also, eventually, be used in mobile phones.

Whichever method takes off as the most popular, it is somehow comforting to think that the technology pioneered in fifties B-movies could be about to revolutionise the way that users view their gadgets. There are undoubtedly hurdles to overcome, as the 3D technology being rolled out today is quantum leaps ahead of anything that producers could use in the fifties, but the 3D revolution, which began in cinemas, and received a large boost with the success of Avatar, will soon be coming to mobile phones, laptops and all the other gadgets we use in daily life.

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