Stephen Hanewinckel

Stephen Hanewinckel has written 5 posts for The Digital Bullpen

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.

Bulls softball increases its winning streak to 10

The USF softball team hit a 10-game win streak this weekend. Georgetown was just the next victim for USF with the same method of consistent pitching and defense during the streak.

The Bulls remain unblemished in conference play and stand alone atop the Big East, but Coach Ken Eriksen worries his young team may start to become complacent.

As I wrote in The Oracle (where I am beat reporter for women’s softball):

Carried by the pitching staff, the USF softball team extended its winning streak to 10 games for the first time since 2008 by sweeping Georgetown.

USF allowed only one run all weekend, winning 1-0 and 4-0 Saturday, and earning an 8-1 win Sunday.

“In streaks, you’ve got to have some good bounces and some good luck,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “We can’t worry about who we are record-wise. We’re hopefully going to get the pats on the back when we’re sitting in front of the TV on Selection Sunday. We have to continue to get better.”

During this 10-game win streak, USF (27-15, 7-0) solidified its starting pitcher rotation as both freshman Sara Nevins and sophomore Lindsey Richardson earned their 10th win of the season.

“I think both of them have earned the starting positions in the game,” Eriksen said. “Our defense and pitching have to continue to do what they’re doing. They have to keep us in ball games so we can score.”

Sara Nevins leads the stampede into Big East

Freshman pitcher Sara Nevins at the Syracuse game where she was key to the Bulls' victory. Photo: USF

During the sweep of Syracuse, freshman Sara Nevins dominated the circle when appearing in all three games.

Nevins pitched 14.1 innings, earning two victories and a save. She is now 9-5 and faced some of the best teams with the best pitchers in the college game. This weekend she defeated a Canadian Olympian in Jenna Caira.

“That’s why she was recruited: to come here and make a difference, said Coach Ken Eriksen. “[Syracuse] was the number one team in the conference the past year and a half. She stymied their bats.”

Nevins struck out 24 of the 43 batters faced and gave up only two walks. Nevins should be announced as one of the Big East players of the week and may receive national attention after this weekend’s performance.

This is nothing new for Sara. In her collegiate career, she has now posted 132 strikeouts with only 14 walks. The stats were concluded after Sunday’s finale when she pitched a no-hitter into the seventh before giving up the hit during her complete game shutout.

When asked about giving up that one hit: “I’m not going to say I don’t mind, but I’ll get them next time,” Nevins said.

Nevins changed up her pitching motion after tournament play this season. She would occasionally lift her foot off the rubber causing an illegal pitch to be called. Monica Triner, the USF pitching coach, has worked with her to change her footing.

“I had to change some things up and take some speed off,” Nevins said. “I was kind of scared at first but it all worked out even better.”

USF has a six-freshmen starting lineup and with Nevins in the circle planned to be Big East contenders in a couple of seasons, but they could be ready this year.

Bulls Softball prepare for Big East play

The USF softball team will begin Big East conference play this weekend and also make their first trip outside of the Tampa Bay area this season. The Bulls will look to settle down and focus on their conference opener after playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country.

“I feel like we did okay”, said coach Ken Eriksen. “Considering we played No. 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 12, 16 (ranked) teams and we started a majority of our games with a lot of freshmen in the lineup. We have to get better at pitching and we have to get better defensively.”

USF went 18-15 that included games against eight ranked teams in the top 25. They went winless in those nine games with four of those losses against the current top three teams in the country: Alabama, Florida and Michigan.

“We let some games get away,” said Eriksen. “We were up two runs (No. 12) Texas A&M and up three runs against (No. 16) Oklahoma State. Those are the games you don’t want to let get away.”

The Bulls have earned some wins against the top 40 teams in the country but have also given away some bad losses to the bottom ranked teams. USF had frustrating losses like Toledo (3-14) who earned just their second victory of the season against USF in a 5-4 loss.

“We have to get consistent,” said Eriksen, “and you find inconsistencies with youth.”

As to how the coach feels about his team’s first away series: “I’ll let you know Monday, this is virgin territory for me with this group. I think they will handle it well. I think they understand it’s serious business.”

New sports complex begins new era for USF

The softball and baseball stadiums, part of the 33 million dollar project, opened this weekend.

USF may not be able to defend their new home fields, but they sure can be proud to defend them.

The Bulls softball team holds a current record of 8-5 at the new on campus stadium, but it is a college that can compete with some of the best. The Bulls once had a few bleacher seats that filled around 150 people and now have a stadium that seat over 700. The stadium also boasts the largest softball dugouts in the country.

“This is a part of the largest venue upgrade in the NCAA division I in the past 25 years,” said Bill McGillis, assistant athletic director at USF. “The conjoined stadium allows fans to go from one game to the next filling more seats for each game. We went from having the worst facilities in the Big East to without a doubt the best.”

The complex, which links the two fields into one stadium, cost 10.6 million dollars out of the combined 33.5 million spent on sport venue upgrades.

The Bulls are not strong enough to strike fear into opponents at home like the nation’s best, but they can use the stadium to recruit the nation’s best in order to defend it in the future.

The players and coaches of the teams that played in the first big tournament were very impressed with the new complex. Head coach of No. 2 Alabama, Patrick Murphy, thought the park was “awesome.”

Fans are enjoying the new complex too. Since the new stadium was put in place season tickets sales have spiked up from a total of 15  last year to 80 thus far this year, with projections to peak at 200 for USF Softball. The USF baseball season ticket sales have also risen from over 400 to a projected 2,000 even though they cannot defend their home-field either with a record of 4-6.

Bulls softball opens Big East play against St. Johns with a three game weekend series before going to Gainesville to face No. 2 Florida.

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