I just love technology. As soon as I can afford something new, it’s already an “outdated antique.” The “latest-and-greatest-must-have” is only that for about a year- then it too is outdated.
The 1950’s movie going crowd was introduced to a wonderful concept: 3D. With special glasses, images on the screen seemed to leap out at the audience. People loved it.
This wonderful technology has been re-released as “new.” With an exception, of course- the original technology relied on human actors while the new technology incorporates the CGI (computer- generated image) technology.
The blockbuster movie, “Avatar” has been a hit wherever it has played. Not everyone has had an enjoyable experience, however. Movie patrons have complained of nausea, headaches and dizziness while watching the movie.
According to Optician Aine Higgins, problems watching 3D movies may indicate weak eye muscles or other vision problems. She suggests seeking an optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as possible to correct the problem.
Oh, boy. A new toy. Imagine wearing a pair of 3D glasses and watching the Super bowl or a parade- it would make it seem you’re right there as part of the action. At least that’s what is being advertised.
I remember in the early 80’s the movie “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” was shown in 3D on a Saturday afternoon. My friends and I had to go to several 7-11 stores to buy enough to get the glasses so we could watch the movie.
What a disappointment. The glasses didn’t work and trying to watch without them was dismal. Everything on the screen was out of focus, and with the glasses on it wasn’t any better. The TV station never aired another 3D movie.
Now HD (high definition) television has come out with 3D TV’s. They’re expensive, desirable for those who like the “latest-and-greatest,” but they come with health warnings.
Samsung, the manufacturer, gives these warnings for watching the 3D mode:
• Parents should monitor children while they watch. The technology could trigger seizures or strokes in families with a history of these conditions.
• But wait- there’s more.
• Do not watch the 3D modes if you are tired, in poor physical condition, have been drinking (there goes the game), or experiencing any of the following: headaches, nausea, dizziness, loss of awareness (you don’t know where you are or what’s going on), cramps or other physical symptoms. If you experience any physical symptoms, seek medical attention.
• Do not place these TV sets near stairwells or other places a disorientated person could fall. I guess the balcony is out, too.
• At one time, Samsung warned pregnant women to leave the 3D mode alone.
Somehow, the problems associated with 3D technology don’t seem to have an effect on gaming. At least, none have been reported enough to generate media attention.
According to Popular Mechanics Online Magazine contributing Editor Erik Sofge, the answer may lie in the silliness of the games themselves. Here is his technical explanation:
“There’s a simple technical reason for the high quality of 3D visuals in games-virtual cameras are easier to control than physical ones. 3D’s central optical illusion is pulled off by either filming with two cameras, which recreates the stereoscopic effect of perceiving depth with a pair of eyes, or else massaging existing footage until it kind of looks as though it has depth. The latter nearly always looks bad-the image is still mostly flat, but now it’s flat in layers. The former, which is referred to as native 3D content, requires incredibly precise double-camera rigs, and generally some amount of post-production cleanup to keep pixels captured by both cameras from straying too close or too far.
On the other hand, maintaining image quality in 3D games is as easy as inserting an additional virtual camera into the game, whether a game is developed in native 3D or retroactively patched for 3D, according to Atsushi Honda, an electrical engineer who worked on Sony’s new 3D LED displays. Developers routinely add in-game independently moving cameras to a given gaming environment, such as in split-screen multiplayer modes. For 3D, the only difference is that both cameras are “grafted” onto each other, with a tightly controlled amount of space between them (enough to accomplish that depth-perception trick). More processor-heavy is the fact that, unless developers are willing to live with a plunge in image quality, the frame rate essentially doubles, to some 120 frames per second. The PS3 should be able to handle this graphical bump to 3D with a firmware upgrade, available later this year. And although everyone else at the Sony booth dodged the question, Honda confirmed that the PS3 will run in 3D on any 3D-ready TV, so long as it’s compatible with HDMI 1.4, an updated transfer protocol.”
Until 3D technology is rated as safe and doesn’t come with a “don’t drink and watch” label or “children should be monitored for health concerns” I think I’ll pass. Why buy a piece of technology only to find out it shouldn’t be used?
I guess I’ll stick to the “old- fashioned” regular 2D TV screen to watch the game. It’s cheaper, doesn’t need a special pair of glasses, and I won’t get a headache- unless of course, my team plays like donkeys.
Source: Optician Áine Higgins, “HEALTH Can 3D movies affect your eyesight?“, Mayo News Website, 12 April 2010
Source: Ki Mae Heussner, “Samsung Warns of 3-D TV Health Concerns”, ABCnews.go.com website, 19 April 2010
Source: Erik Sofge, “Why 3D Doesn’t Work for TV, But Is Great for Gaming: Analysis”, Popular Mechanics website, no article date given