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Puget Sound Stereo Camera Club - Technology

Technology

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Just some thoughts about 3D Perception and VR

A very smart friend of mine sent me a passage about the limits of stereoscopic vision from a book he’s reading, Visual Thinking for Design, by Colin Ware (book link). 

Some depth cues are not captured in a static image, and are therefore not pictorial. One kind of depth cue comes from the fact that humans, like many other animals, have two front-facing eyes. Visual area 1 contains specialized mechanisms for using the small differences in the images in the two eyes to extract distance information; this ability is called stereoscopic depth perception.
Different depth cues have different uses depending on the tasks we are trying to perform. Stereoscopic vision is optimal for visually guiding our hands as we reach for nearby objects. It works best in making judgments of the relative distances of nearby objects, within a meter or two of our heads. Stereoscopic depth judgments are also most precise for objects that are at nearly the same depth. The brain is not good at using stereo information to judge large relative distances. Because of these properties, people who have little or no stereo depth perception (20 percent of the population) still have no difficulty driving cars or walking around, although they will be clumsy when trying to thread needles.
Stereo technology has, for the most part, been a story of fads that faded, and this is largely because of a failure to understand that the main virtue of stereo vision is the precise guidance of hand movements. The Victorians were fascinated with stereo photos and sold thousands of stereo images. Now they clutter the stands of flea markets. Stereo cameras had a heyday in the 1930s and 1940s but now are almost unobtainable. Many inventors and entrepreneurs have lost their shirts on stereographic movies and television systems. The problem is that none of these technologies allowed for manual interaction with the visual three-dimensional objects that were represented. If we had virtual three-dimensional environments that allowed us to reach in and move things, then we would appreciate stereo technology more. [p. 94, emphasis added]

While I may disagree with some of his particular points (“clutter the stands of flea markets?” Oh, really? Where??!), I think his conclusion is basically correct. We can see stereoscopic depth at a distance, but our brains are really geared to use it best at arm’s length. 

That in turn made me remember a delightful (but somewhat jarring) new VR game I saw advertised this week called Beat Saber. Here’s an article about the game, but you can get the idea of the game pretty quickly from this YouTube video.

Here’s a video showing actual game play from the perspective of the player.

This is an outstanding use of 3D in that arm’s length zone, or pretty close. I’d love to try this game, even if I’m terrible at it. It’s like the Dance Dance Revolution of the VR world. 

-David

By |January 22nd, 2018|Technology|Comments Off on Just some thoughts about 3D Perception and VR

Poppy turns your iPhone into a 3D camera

Poppy, a sleek and somewhat retro black and orange gizmo, transforms an iPhone into a camera capable of capturing, viewing and sharing photos and video in 3D. Put your phone in the device (which supports iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and iPod Touch) and give the box a twist to begin recording.

So how does it work? Poppy uses mirrors to capture two stereographic images using the iPhone’s single camera. When seen through the viewfinder, Poppy’s lenses combine the two video streams into a single, crisp, 3D video.

“As kids, we loved those old toy Viewmasters, and how they gave you the feeling of stepping into another world. We wanted to let anyone create and share their own immersive 3D scenes too. That’s why we made Poppy,” says Joe Heitzeberg, one of Poppy’s creators.

Another great thing about Poppy is that it works with 3D content that’s already online. Most people aren’t aware, but YouTube supports 3D and has amassed a huge library of 3D movie trailers, music videos, sports clips and user-generated content — and all of it looks beautiful on Poppy. The viewing experience is immersive and natural — much higher fidelity than using red/blue 3D glasses.

Poppy is launching on Kickstarter at under $50 — putting Poppy in the sweet spot for gifts and casual gadget purchases. It also sets Poppy apart from other 3D cameras that have come on the market in recent years, which are more expensive and don’t typically include 3D viewing or sharing functionality.

“iPhone is the world’s most popular camera, and Poppy is the first product that lets the iPhone capture, view and share the world as it is actually experienced — in 3D. We can’t wait to get it in people’s hands and see what they do with it,” says Poppy co-creator, Ethan Lowry.

Please check out Poppy on Kickstarter today.

By |July 4th, 2013|Products, Technology|Comments Off on Poppy turns your iPhone into a 3D camera

Phereo 3D Plugin for WordPress

The 3D image sharing site, Phereo.com, created a plugin module for WordPress that allows the user to select the preferred viewing method by clicking the buttons beneath the image.
(Note: parallel + swap = crossview).
[3dpix id=”512aca565ec346855f000012″]

By |June 16th, 2013|Technology|Comments Off on Phereo 3D Plugin for WordPress