TV Goggles, 3D Video and Augmented Reality

I was recently at the Edinburgh TV Festival and from this it seems alternate realities, anything to do with GPS/Geo, and 3D video glasses are the next big multiplatform thing.

Video Glasses
I won a pair of the video glasses at the festival and they are amazing http://www.icuiti.com/ They give a "virtual 72 inch feeling" like watching a big TV for a few metres away - so your eyes focus into the distance. Based on military technology they don't appear to strain the eyes and I've been watching the girls aloud videos for the past few weeks... on the bus, on the beach - they are great. I've also connected them to my PC when playing games like Doom3 and they really provide for a more immersive gaming experience.

Because they operate on two screens they have the capacity to deliver 3d stereoscopic content and also allow an added level of interactivity with augmented reality - several companies are selling these video glasses in the states and Asia and they are just about to be launched in a big way in the UK. I wouldn't be suprised if they became as popular as ipods during the next couple of years - particularly as they can take your mini-ipod screen and turn it into a virtual 72inch TV screen (I used my video specs with my archos but I can also connect it to my DV cam and get a live feed).

These extend the potential for delivering natural history in 3D, really allowing landscapes and animal behaviour come alive to the viewer like never before. What's more, as was being preached by Vint Cerf from Google at the TV festival, delivery of video over the web trhough services like the iPlayer allows for multiple layers of content and data to be delivered and hidden behind the video - each layer activated by different technologies, or methods of viewing.

3D Filming
The age of digital media has allowed for a development of products which can take 2D material and convert it to virtual 3D. IMAX and Warner Brothers did exactly this with Superman Returns in 2006 with 20 minutes of 3-D images converted from the 2-D original digital footage, and George Lucas has announced that he may re-release his Star Wars films in 3-D. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was also released in IMAX theatres with 20 minutes of 3-D content.

James Cameron is planning to shoot his new films Avatar and Battle Angel (planned for released in 2009) in digital 3-D. Filming will use HDTV cameras and the Sony Fusion Camera system.

21st Century 3D provide the worlds smallest and lightest, HI-DEF, stereoscopic 3D camera system and they have just announced the released of 3DVX–H and 3D-SSR which are solid state stereoscopic recorders. http://www.21stcentury3d.com/

The 3DVX–H is particularly useful for long-shot natural history as it had a "modular hyperstereoscopic camera system" that allows maintains a strong stereoscopic 3D effect and high quality at long distances. "With ordinary camera separation, discernable stereoscopy diminishes as the camera’s distance from the subject increases. The 3DVX–H compensates for this by allowing users to increase the interoccular distance to as much as three feet or more."

Augmented Reality
I am going to be playing around with this - the way I see it working is if you strap a webcam to your forehead with the image playing through an augmented reality application and into the goggles you can create the illusion of projecting virtual 3d graphics into the real world whch you can then interact with. Cool!!

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