Friday, 20 June 2008

3D or not 3D? That is the question...

A great deal of research has gone on over many decades about producing three dimensional computer generated images.  Some were pretty impractical, involving the user having to wear coloured glasses to look through.  Other more recent 3D televisions I have seen have really been quite impressive, if you sit or stand in exactly the right place relative to the screen.  And of course the problem with TV in 3D is the production of material filmed in 3D (e.g. with multiple cameras).  Broadcasters are currently occupied with creating content in high definition (HD) and that is only available in the UK sluggishly, as the number of HD televisions increases in homes. 

But 3D in other applications apart from TV may have a faster time to market.  Indian tech giant Infosys has recently announced the development of portable holographic machines and reckons that 2010 will see a significant number of devices that can beam 3D images into our lives.  Imagine a mobile phone of the future that not only allows your mother-in-law to video call you, but also beams her to you in full 3D!   Scary huh? 

Other more interesting applications would include medicine, accident scene reporting and education.  The combination of such 3D projection with virtual worlds and avatars could provide a much more realistic and immersive environment which expands the exploitation of virtual spaces.  The advantage of holographic approaches is that it can enable 3D imaging with no loss of resolution, unlike stereoscopic methods.  I guess some folk won't mind losing some resolution with the 3D mother-in-law though!  

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