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3D Spreading Through All Forms of Tech

In the past two years the two most sold pieces of entertainment in the technology world both had capable 3D technology: Avatar the movie and Call of Duty Black Ops the video game. 3D technology appears to be making its way back into today’s culture.

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show hosted several of the prominent technological companies that premiered new 3D gadgets. The convention had Sony, LG and Samsung among many others show off brand new 3DTVs. Nintendo showed off the 3DS, a new video game handheld device that doesn’t require glasses to view the 3D games. Prototypes containing 3D technologies were also premiered, such as new 3D smartphones.

“Tech Corporations have really grabbed hold of the 3D idea, but people have not,” said Eric Turner, a head worker for the IMAX Dome at MOSI, who has worked with 3D tech for just over a decade now. “It might be the current economic situation or the new version of 3D is just trapped in the early adoption stage right now.” According to Best Buy sales numbers, people aren’t buying 3DTVs like people bought when HDTVs became popular but Turner still says “It is the future.”

3D tech has rallied the popular TV and movie industries. All companies can do now is wait. “I just settled into the high (definition) technology with my Xbox (360) and 32 inch HDTV,” Michael Rigsby, a University of South Florida student majoring in education. “I may buy one in the future if this new technology doesn’t get jumped by another one.”

3D tech is nothing new to the public. Unlike high definition, which only had wide screen as a precursor, 3D technology has been around for almost a century although its first heyday occurred in the ’50s and ’60s. As the technology has changed and depth seems more realistic on the screen it still requires glasses to view the image in 3D.

Active shutter projects pixels to create a 3D image with the use of glasses that block certain pixels from being viewed by each individual eye to create a 3D image. The glasses can cost $100 to $150 with a TV that can already cost a few thousand.

Whether it’s the glasses or the economy the public and industries happen to be on two different wavelengths when it comes to 3D technology.

The future seems to have ideas filled without 3D glasses, but that technology is projected to be years away from being affordable for mass production. The first step towards popularizing 3D technology without glasses is the Nintendo 3DS. It released in North America on March 27, 2011 it costs $250.

The beginning of 3D without glasses puts the job of glasses into a barrier in front of the screen being viewed. Just as active shutter glasses has each lens block certain pixels to create an different image for each eye to see, the 3DS puts those lenses in front of the screen.

This parallax barrier is placed so any eyes directly in front of the screen line up to only see certain pixels to create a 3D image. This is why no 3D image can be seen from an acute or obtuse viewing angle. This barrier can be turned off at any time allowing the eyes to be seen by both eyes to create a 2D image.

After just a few weeks the 3DS sold out when it arrived in Japan on February 28. The new technology does come with a warning declaring that no one under the age of six should play it. Anyone six and under still has their eyes under development and must continue to master movement, coordination and depth perception in reality before venturing into technology that alters those instincts.

Another warning tells those playing the 3DS to only play for 45 minutes at a time. Those above the age of six complain of dizziness and headaches after consistent play.

“Because our individual eye’s viewing angle points closer to our nose when something is coming at us,” said Dr. Charlie Handerson. “Our minds have to retrain years of practice when seeing a 3D object that pops out at us but is not actually getting closer to us.”

Nintendo has stated that the game does have a switch to turn the system from 3D to 2D from time to time to allow constant play without any dizziness or nausea.

3DS launched in the US outside the norm of gaming retail stores that the Nintendo DS models of the past were sold from. The 3DS was sold at many smartphones and tablet stores that support mobile gaming.

“They just aren’t worth it right now,” said Eric Stanton. “The games haven’t mastered the use of the technology and the system itself is expensive.”

First adopters are still enjoying it at all ages.

“As a mom with two kids, they each want one but I will just get them to share it with different games,” said Tina Reynolds.

“I love my new 3DS,” said Michael Soto, a sophomore at the University of Saint Leo. “The games are great to play I have always loved Nintendo’s handheld systems and have owned each one of them, this being the best and most innovative.”

Decide for yourself with the Nintendo 3DS Review from the respectable video game company IGN. Notice the slider bar that easily turns the 3D feature on and off and how you must stand in a certain place to view the 3D effect.


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