Astronaut Takes 3D Space Pics With Old Tech

ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli

ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli (twitter account), working for the European Space Agency on the International Space Station has taken some “3D” photos of himself and other astronauts. I haven’t included the photos in this blog post because they’re “All Rights Reserved” on his Flickr account and on the Daily Mail and Telegraph sites they credit a news agency, who most definitely won’t want me reprinting them without paying.

Sidenote: NASA’s images are reproducible with attribution because they’re paid for by the US government. ESA images, like the one on the left, are also reproducible with attribution. So why, then, can an astronaut working for the European Space Agency restrict copyright and presumably sell to press agencies images taken on board the ISS while working for the ESA? Do taxpayers not pay for his job and own his output?

Anyway, the images aren’t exactly high tech. They’re in the old anaglyph style and are best viewed using the disposable red/blue glasses!

photo: ESA

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Passive 3D Computer Monitors From LG


Cinema 3D Monitors From LG

Continuing their roll out of “FPR” (Film Patterned Retarder) technology, LG have announced the release of two “Cinema 3D” computer monitors – the D41P and D42P.

You’ll get the wonder of 3D without the expense of active-powered 3D glasses because the “Cinema 3D” concept uses LG’s take on passive 3D displays… whether it’s their 3D TV’s or these new computer monitors.

Given that we’ve discussed “passive versus active” a few times in the past with respect to 3DTV, let’s look at something else these computer monitors can do. Although, it’s perhaps worth noting that computer monitors may be more suited to passive displays because you use them from a fixed angle and distance compared to watching your TV.

LG claims that the D41P and D42P can do “2D to 3D upscaling” to convert regular content to 3D. OK, so we reported on “2D to 3D upscaling” back in January 2010, and it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, so what will it bring to your computer? Spreadsheets in 3D? Websites in 3D? What about native 2D games… will they burst into 3D glory? I would assume that until developers take account of people potentially viewing their applications using 3D monitors, upscaling isn’t going to work well.

We’ll find out in June 2011, when the D41P and D42P go on sale in the UK!

Are you interested in using a 3D computer monitor? How do you think it’ll compare to Nvidia’s 3D vision which uses active glasses? Leave a comment below… comments will be open for a few days…

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Win A 3DTV In McCain Competition

win a 3dtv

win a 3dtv

Short and sweet… you can win a 3DTV by entering the competition being run my McCain (the oven chip people) at their website. It seems like a simple form to fill out for the chance to win a 3DTV, BluRay player and 40 blu-ray discs. There are runners-up prizes of sets of film DVD’s, probably because the competition is being run in conjunction with Film4. The closing date is 31st July 2011, you have to be 18 to enter, one entry per person, yadda yadda. :)

If you decide to enter… good luck!

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Samsung Leads The Way In 3DTV Sales

Samsung have announced that they had more than 60% of the European 3DTV market in 2010. No only that, they also had about half of the 3DTV market in the USA. Not content to sit on their laurels, Samsung are rolling out a new service for their Smart 3D TV’s called “Explore 3D” which is an app that allows owners of their 3D TV’s to access dozens of free 3D clips and movies in streaming high definition. The clips will include “trailers, music videos and full feature documentaries”. The initial launch will include 10 IMAX theatre movies which were previously only available for via BluRay.

Is this great news for Samsung 3DTV owners and another reason to choose Samsung when buying a 3DTV, or a tacit admission that there’s still very little 3D content available for those with shiny new “3D Ready” television sets?

It’s interesting that Samsung feel the need to take a swipe at passive 3DTV’s further into their press release when they mention a new “3D entertainment pack” and say that it “comfortable active glasses will provide, unlike other approaches, a Full HD 3D image and 3D from almost any position in the living room”… hmm, in contrast to what other approaches… LG’s passive 3DTV’s perhaps? Ouch.

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Nintendo 3DS Headaches – The Truth


Let’s face it, it was always likely that the launch of a new 3D gaming gizmo selling hundreds of thousands of units (141,000 and climbing and the record for the most pre-ordered games gadget in Amazon’s history) would result in a few complaints about eye strain and headaches.

If we learned anything from Avatar 3D in the cinema, it’s that people’s eyes are not all the same and many people with otherwise “normal” vision can have problems with stereoscopic 3D effects. Perhaps that’s no great shock if you’re an optometrist or someone who normally wears glasses, but for me it’s weird to think that the rendering of a fake 3D image can uncover so many sight problems in people who would otherwise be considered to have “normal” vision.

So, the Nintendo 3DS launched, and, surprisingly, us Brits aren’t getting ripped off on the price, which is about $250 in the US and £180 here in the UK, which is about fair considering the exchange rate and the fact that we’re getting mugged for 20% VAT.

Early reviews were decidedly mixed. The 3D function was initially impressive, but came with complaints that the viewing position and angle was restrictive and 3D gameplay resulted in headaches for some people. A reviewer at Entertainment Weekly said the glasses-free 3D was, “a wonder to behold” but complained that, “in order to view the screen properly, you must keep your eyes within an unforgiving sweet spot roughly 9 to 12 inches away” and, “I spent the rest of the day with a nagging pain in my cranium, and a slight unsettled feeling in my stomach” (source). Not good.

A selection of Twitter tweets seem to suggest that the 3DS can cause headaches in some people…

Got to play with a 3DS for a bit today. It was super cool but I’ve got a headache now :-(

Played with a 3DS yesterday. It was fun, but I can see myself getting a headache from playing longer than 5 min

First Impressions of the 3DS 3D good, no headache yet

3DS is mine :) Already received a headache but meh :)

140 char 3DS review: Actually disappointing. Impressive tech, nub good, viewing angle impractically rigid. Pilotwings GUI headache inducing

The new Nintendo 3DS is a *very* impressive machine. I’d like it better without the headache and motion sickness

Nintendo UK’s head of PR, Rob Saunders, then commented that…

“We have shown Nintendo 3DS at multiple events around the world to literally hundreds of thousands of people and have received very few negative comments. As with anything that requires focus, from reading to staring at a computer screen, taking breaks frequent breaks is always recommended. When viewing any kind of 3D images (TV, movies etc.), some people might experience minor discomfort. The effects are short term and have no lasting effect, in fact most players can continue after taking a short break. The Nintendo 3D was designed with a 3D depth slider that lets users adjust the 3D effect to a level that suits them for optimum enjoyment.”

So, it seems like a positive launch overall for the new 3DS, but tinged with the possibility of headaches that 3D gameplay causes… headaches which are unlikely to be limited to the glasses-free 3DS and more likely to be inherent with general 3D gameplay as our brains try to make sense of the artificial 3D images.

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