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How To See In 3D On Your iPhone 94

Posted by kdawson
from the old-tech-made-new dept.
waderoush writes "Some of the coolest media technologies predate the Web and the PC — in fact, they predate the 20th century. My column in Xconomy explores the world of 19th-century stereoscopes and stereo views, which are the all-but-forgotten forerunners to anaglyphic 3D, VR goggles, and other modern stereo vision systems. As it turns out, it's pretty easy to 'free-view' vintage stereo images on an iPhone or other small screen, getting the full 3-D effect without any other viewing aids. The article has instructions for accessing a collection of old stereo images using the new Seadragon Mobile iPhone app from Microsoft Live Labs." The stereoscope, that killer technology of the last century but one, was invented in 1859 by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., who gave it away and never made a dime off it. If you don't have an iPhone and want to get the feel of free viewing on a computer monitor, start here at Roush's Flickr photostream.
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How To See In 3D On Your iPhone

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  • 1st post! (Score:1, Funny)

    by sineer (991801)
    Show me some titties!
    • 2nd post! (Score:4, Funny)

      by Yvan256 (722131) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @10:54PM (#26188711) Homepage Journal

      Show me some 3D titties!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Here you go! [eroticaphotographica.com]

        • by netsharc (195805)

          Focusing on them for a few minutes at a time [just... a... few... more... seconds...!!!] really can't be good for your eyes...

    • by carlzum (832868)
      From the article:

      Every summer, the companies hired hundreds of college students to fan out across the countryside, hawking the latest series of travel, documentary, educational, comic, burlesque, or "sentimental" views.

      Apparently things haven't changed much in the last 100 years.

      • It would take a lot longer than a hundred years for humans to somehow devolve away from being interested in sex. And my guess is that survival rates would plummet.
        • by billcopc (196330)

          And my guess is that survival rates would plummet.

          You say that like it's a bad thing... :P

          What I'd love is some alcohol additive that neutralizes the hormonal response, so that the peg-legged hunchback at the end of the bar is just as ugly at 3 am as she was at 8 pm. That right there would probably solve a fair chunk of the overpopulation problem... at least in the southern parts!

          • so that the peg-legged hunchback at the end of the bar is just as ugly at 3 am as she was at 8 pm

            I'd love an alcohol additive that neutralizes sexist pigs so they never even make it to the bar in the first place. Especially the ones that think they're any hotter than the 'peg-legged hunchback'.

            • I'd love an alcohol additive that neutralizes sexist pigs so they never even make it to the bar in the first place. Especially the ones that think they're any hotter than the 'peg-legged hunchback'.

              I'd love an alcohol additive that would lighten people up and realise there are jokes in the world and that sometimes un PC stuff can be funny.

            • by billcopc (196330)

              I'd love a slashdot additive that neutralizes trolls so they stop making unfounded accusations of sexism, racism or *-ism when those attacks are a projection of their own insecurities.

              • I think what you fail to realize is that, a lot of times for women, it isn't a projection of their insecurities. There is a lot of sexism going on in sites like this (and in geek circles in general) that is very real. And it has a very real effect on those being attacked.

                It might result in instances like this, where perhaps I overreacted a bit. If someone I knew well had made the same joke amongst friends, I probably would've had a very different reaction. But in an online forum of strangers? It's a lot
  • by Psychotria (953670) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @10:38PM (#26188643)
    I have a view-master [wikipedia.org] that I use to look at all the old photos of dinosaurs and other documentary images such as popeye and three little pigs.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Something lost in todays youth, the first time you got to peer into the tiny little box and see the most amazing things.

      Too bad some of us had bad eyesight and didn't realize what was there until later in life ( ever seen a 20 year old buying up view-master disks like candy ) . I still remember as a kid after getting one ' this is stupid '.

      The roadrunner stuff was the best. :)

    • I remember Viewmasters. One of my relatives actually had the camera for taking your own viewmaster pictures, and she would put together her own reels from that. It was pretty schway back in the day!
  • GNAAAR!!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by tempest69 (572798) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @10:51PM (#26188699) Journal
    Ok... This one does make me a bit peeved...
    The poster shows a bunch of stereo cards, that can obstensibly be shown in 3d on the Iphone.. a pretty cool idea
    He adds a tutorial, also a nice touch..
    But the Tutorial is for cross eyed viewing, probably the easiest way to view pair images..

    However he has the images as straight view images, not crosseyed.. so the 3d effect is inverted.. which is ugly. he could swap the sides, and it will work.. and on an Iphone the images are still small enough to pull a wall-eyed stereo view.. but it takes more skill to master, and image center to center has to be less than the distance between your eyes... otherwise you have to super-paralax.. or get your eyes to spread... it isnt something easy, I've tried.

    Anyway the instructions are bad for the images he's showing..

    Storm

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      I can play Quake1 in 3D parallel view. Pretty cool.

    • yea, i was wondering about that. the CG image on the tutorial looks amazing (far more impressive than any of the photos, frankly). but almost all of the images in his gallery looked inverted and lacked depth. i did copy one of the images into MS Paint and flip it horizontally, but it still lacked depth.

      • by tempest69 (572798)
        ok.. flipping the whole thing horizontally will do nothing... other than flip the while thing horizontally. the left image must be moved to the right hand side (in it's current orientation).. this will help.. good luck
    • Make your own! (Score:3, Informative)

      by neapolitan (1100101)

      Yeah... this is stuff every nerd kid did... a lot. Maybe that's why we all wear glasses. Remember when the 3d random dot patterns were all the rage? Those were a bit more tricky to "see."

      A neat think you can do with a digital camera is make your own steroscopic pictures. I did it myself just a couple months ago -- a good technique is to put your digicam with its back against a ruler, and fix the ruler in place. Take one picture of the scene, and with the ruler still fixed, move your camera several in

    • by EdIII (1114411) *

      so the 3d effect is inverted

      What do you mean?

      I had no problems at all getting the 3d effect off the images and it did not seem to be "inverted" to me. As long as you view the slides in nothing bigger than "medium" on the site you should have no problems getting the effect to work for you.

      For the people that are having problems... well this is the same sort of skills that it takes to master those Magic Eye posters you used to see all over the place in the 90's. It drove some people insane trying to do it w

      • by Diag (711760)
        Magic Eye posters...

        Wow, it's a schooner!
  • "The stereoscope, that killer technology of the last century but one, was invented in 1859 by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., who gave it away and never made a dime off it."

    And it would have expired by 1923 so what would your point be? What if he did make money off it? It would be irrelevant to us.

    • by node 3 (115640) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:05AM (#26189019)

      It's called "background information". The fact that it was invented in 1859, or that it was Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. who invented it, are equally irrelevant to us.

      However, all of the above facts are interesting, including the fact that he gave it away. Good for him.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@b ... h u d s o n .com> on Saturday December 20, 2008 @11:00PM (#26188733) Journal

    ... because everyone knows pirates have only one eye, you ignorant clod!

  • $200 Viewmaster?!

    -click-
    -click-
    Oooh, Mount Rushmore...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hynee (774168)
      Yeah, it's a shit article.

      He's basically pointed out that stereographs can be viewed without equipment by "looking through" them, and stereographs are images, and images can be digitised, and digitized images can be displayed on most modern electronics, and the iPhone is one of these. Whoot.

  • They've got nekkid people too.
    http://starosta.com/3dshowcase/inude.html [starosta.com]

    Too much eye-crossing for me, though.

    • ughh... that photographer really knows how to pick his models.

      this [starosta.com] is the only half-way decent looking girl in that gallery.

    • by Kaetemi (928767)

      A lot of pictures on that site seem to have switched up the left and right one, which is why your eyes will get tired when you try to use those :/
      The ones on the other sites are just fine, though.

      • by Kaetemi (928767)

        Err.. self-correction.
        They're for cross eye viewing (right eye looks at left image, left image at right image), not for straight eye viewing.
        I'm used to using my left eye to look at the left image and right for right image (which is easier, imo).
        But anyways, if you're having issues, easiest is to check which method you're using to watch them, and switch them up if needed.

  • You mean there were crosseyed people back before the 20th century? I have a feeling tomorrow microsoft's team of lawyers will begin to patent a process enabling a user to cross their eyes for a 3d operating system to compete with Apple's. I still like wikipedia's example better they have nice yellow dots you can use to calibrate your eyes to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:XEyeStCdNYCSmall.jpg [wikipedia.org]
  • you insensitive clod! I have a lazy eye! ...and astigmatism ...and nystagmus ...and a Blackberry, not an iPhone ...and I'm drunk as shit ...and I'll shut up now and pass out Thanks. I'll be here all week. Try the fish.
    • by Timmmm (636430)

      I also have no binocular vision, but I still have depth perception. I just have to use other cues - mainly texture, parallax and perspective. Doesn't work so well for things like catching balls.

      • by bargainsale (1038112) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @08:19AM (#26190737)
        You're far from being alone.

        Many people (about 10%) lack *stereopsis*, the ability to fuse to slightly different images from the two eyes so that the brain perceives depth.

        But stereopsis is really just the icing on the cake of depth perception, and just as you say, people use all kinds of other visual cues to perceive depth, with the brain doing the processing subconsciously to a great extent.

        Lack of stereopsis is so little a handicap that most people lacking it are unaware of the fact; orthoptists (the paramedical professionals who measure squints and treat amblyopia) have special tests to pick it up.

        My favourite is the Wirt Fly:
        http://www.sussexvision.co.uk/wirtfly.htm [sussexvision.co.uk]

        I've known perfectly capable eye surgeons who lacked stereopsis.
        • by Tablizer (95088)

          Many people (about 10%) lack *stereopsis*, the ability to fuse to slightly different images from the two eyes so that the brain perceives depth.

          I heard a neat story on NPR by a lady who undertook therapy to correct a stereopsis-related problem due to a slight birth defect whereby the brain pretty much ignores one of the eyes to avoid a double-image because it didn't focus right at a young age. (Usually therapy is done in childhood, but she was starting it as an adult.) She told about the day stereo percept

  • Idle (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Oooh, 3D on your iPhone!! *stroke* *stroke*

    FFS! shouldn't this shit be in the idle section of slashdot?
  • by tsa (15680) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @11:55PM (#26188981) Homepage

    What an extremely crappy article. The title makes you expect a nifty program for the iPhone to watch 3D images, and it turns out you can view these images in a not-too-good way on any screen and even on paper! You need an iPhone because of its high resolution screen?! Apple fanboi I say.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's because to Apple fanbois, there is no "Phone". There is only the iPhone. There is also no mp3 player. Only the iPod.

      Same as there is no porn. Only the iGod Steve Jobs to jack off to.

  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:21AM (#26189063)

    If you want a much more comfortable viewing experience for a little bit of money, I recommend the Pokescope viewer [pokescope.com]. It's a marvelous little invention that not only has an ingenious folding design, but uses prisms instead of lenses so there's infinite focus.

    I find free-viewing either parallel or cross-eye to be horrible and headache inducing. It's the same technique that's used to view those stereo scramble posters that were unfortunately popular for a while. It took a long time before I got the technique down, and I always hated it.

    I spent years messing around with LCD shutter glasses and high end CRTs, but find for casual viewing the Pokescope is great.

    Now that LCD panels are creeping back into the 120hz refresh range and with shorter persistence, LCD shutterglasses will once again become easier to use, but they remain expensive as they are not passive.

    The best digital stereo display I ever saw was a prototype from Kodak at Siggraph maybe 5 years ago. They set up a pair of screens inside a box with a lensing and mirroring system as such that your eyes were relaxed and focused on infinity when viewing. It was a very expensive, high end device, but if you delt with stereo photography for a living, it would be a nice thing to have. I don't know that they ever made a product out of it.

    Some folks in SF also came up with a method for printing polarized 3D images on an inkjet, was called stereojet. You could view the prints or backlit transparencies with passive polarized 3D glasses. I envisioned doing an art gallery show with all stereo prints, but the costs and time involved were too great for me at the time. I don't know if they are still offering stereojet printing services.

  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:29AM (#26189087)
    After Harold Lloyd (of silent film fame) retired, he took hundreds of stereo pictures of famous actresses, including many of Marylin Monroe. You can even get a book containing some of his work.

    There are two problems with stereo images though.

    1. There are no digital stereo cameras available. (you can make one of course but that's enough to put most people off)
    2. There is no nice way of viewing them digitally. (not everyone can do freeviewing, and even when you can its a bit awkward)

    If only some company would make a cheap digital 3D Camera and some kind of digital viewmaster to view the results.
    • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:39AM (#26189131)

      Someone FINALLY decided to do a proper, twin lens stereo camera. Fuji announced a prototype at Photokina this year:

      http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08092209fujifilm3D.asp [dpreview.com]

      I find it bizarre that no one did it before, because it is such an easy thing to do, to combine multiple inexpensive CCDs and a processor that manages the capture and recording of both, synced with a timing circuit.

      I built my own digital stereo rig out of two old Sony U30s and used it for about a year until one of the cameras died.

      It needs to be combined with a service where you send your pics in and get back stereo cards with a cardboard viewer. Those make great gifts and actually work very well. I would buy it in three seconds if it were on the market today. Lets hope this product gets made and sold.

      --Mike

    • There is a company that has cobbled one together that you can buy http://www.courtesy.nl/tac/camera/cameras.htm [courtesy.nl]

      But I'm sure in the future the folks at lomo will come up with one, this really their cup o tea...
    • by n6kuy (172098)

      This works for taking stereo pictures of non-moving scenes:

      1) take a picture.
      2) move your camera a couple inches to the right.
      3) take another picture.
      4) use photo manipulation software to join the two pictures together.
      5) resize as appropriate.

    • After Harold Lloyd (of silent film fame) retired, he took hundreds of stereo pictures of famous actresses, including many of Marylin Monroe. You can even get a book containing some of his work. There are two problems with stereo images though. 1. There are no digital stereo cameras available. (you can make one of course but that's enough to put most people off) 2. There is no nice way of viewing them digitally. (not everyone can do freeviewing, and even when you can its a bit awkward) If only some company would make a cheap digital 3D Camera and some kind of digital viewmaster to view the results.

      There are two problems with stereo images though.

  • Owww (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:31AM (#26189097) Journal

    Trying to get my poor eyes to split-focus on those makes my eyes feel like they haven't felt since my first goatse click.

    And Please, God, let there NOT be a 3D goatse in cyberland somewhere.
           

  • The OP writes "The stereoscope, that killer technology of the last century but one, was invented in 1859 by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr."

    This is incorrect.

    While Holmes popularized stereoscopy in America by creating libraries of stereoscope slides and his own hand-held viewer, Sir William Brewster invented the lenticular stereoscope (a simple viewer) in 1850, and known stereoscopes date back to the early 1840s. Notably, this is only shortly after Daguerreâ(TM)s first daguerreotype in 1937 (The first
  • I find stereoscopic "wiggle-grams" more convenient and have almost the same effect:

    http://www.well.com/~jimg/stereo/stereo_list.html [well.com]

    (Apologies for the nudity.)
           

  • Where's the story? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    These have been around for years. I've even made my own both with photos and 3D software. And what does this have to do with an iPhone? All you need is a device that can display an image. Also, some of those images might be the wrong way around for cross-eyed viewing, which I think is easier than parallel viewing. Don't get me wrong, I love stereo imaging, but this story is just crap.

    • by jthill (303417)
      I think the difference is he's found a far simpler transformation that's close enough to accurate that your eyes will do the rest. His algorithm fits in a 30-40fps CPU-only rendering pipeline for e.g. Quake II.
  • Yeah, right. Wait until you turn 42 and then do this. "Hold it 8 inches from your face", my arse. Just a blurry blob at that distance to my 48 year old peepers.
  • by 4D6963 (933028)
    Wow, stereoscopy is news!? Can't wait until I read some news about the printed press. It's about time this thing comes about, my scribes who translated my HTTP packets into hand-written letters are pretty expensive and slow. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some daguerreotypes to post on flickr.
  • WRONG!
    Sir Charles Wheatstone (as in Wheatstone Bridge) invented the Wheatstone Stereoscope [wikipedia.org] before Sir. David Brewster developed the lens system attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes.

    Of course as with the computer, GUI, MP3 player, and cell phone, the stereoscope was actually invented by Steve Jobs.

    • Yup. In 1934, Wheatstone demonstrated stereo using hand drawn figures. He then got onto his friend Fox Talbot, and they made stereo pictures. Perhaps there was only six months between the arrival of practical photography in Britain and experiments with 3D. It was sxhibited in 1838,

      In Europe, Duboscq developed viewers that showed transparency stereo pairs. These became popular ince Queen Victoria had been presented with a model at the Crystal Palace exhibition.

      The Holmes stereoscope was a simpler instru

  • I never knew of the technique listed here, and needless to say I am awed, I just spent the last hour and a half looking up stereoscopic images. Thank you for introducing me to this!
  • by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @03:24AM (#26189827)

    Anybody who is serious about working with 3D data learns to view 3D images by crossing their eyes. And, no, you don't need an iPhone to do it.

  • Already done? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    3D in phone is already done, right?
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7209269.html [freepatentsonline.com]

  • It should be noted he was a famous physician and author; penning not only a number of important medical articles but poems as well (including "Old Ironsides.") His son Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr was a famous American jurist.

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr appears to be another of those New Englanders whose interests spanned a variety of topics and who had the money to follow their interests. Thoreau springs to mind as another.

  • ...you insensitive clod.

  • I'm the author of the original article. Several commenters here have pointed out that the tutorial that I originally cited in the article was about cross-eye stereo viewing (in which the right image is intended for the left eye, and the left image is intended for the right eye), whereas these 19th-century stereographs are designed for parallel viewing (in which the left image is the for the left eye, etc.). That's absolutely correct -- my mistake. I've revised the article to link to a different tutorial, on
  • The stereoscope, that killer technology of the last century but one...

    WTF is the "but one" supposed to mean?
    And isn't looking cross-eyed at things hoping to see "3d" kind of silly?

    • by smoker2 (750216)
      It should be "the century before last" anyway. The last but one means the 20th century, as we are in the "last" century at the moment. If you have the numbers 1 to 100, 99 is the last but one. The phrase depends on the direction of counting.
  • His Springtime Through the Branches and one of his larger water lily paintings "popped" for me this way: after looking for a while, I suddenly felt I was looking into the paintings.

    And the way it happened sounds similar: I had heard that de-focusing on his paintings would make them different but equally beautiful.

    The water lily painting (huge, done in dark colors, in a traveling impressionist exhibition that included works from private collections, at the LACMA in the 1980's, I can't recall anything mor

    • jthill, on this theme of the optics of Monet's paintings, there is a lovely poem by Lisel Mueller, "Monet Refuses the Operation [panhala.net]."
    • by Nesman64 (1093657)
      After going squinty eyed on images posted above, I read your post as:

      ... so I figured there must be some reason it was there and tried that trick. A minute maybe, then, barn.

      I thought, "That's a clever trick."

      • by jthill (303417)
        Yeah, I don't think screenshots will do it. Maybe even a full-sized print, I don't know. I do know the water lilies one was _huge_.
  • Many of these images were taken with excessive spacing between the views, which makes things "pop-up" unnaturally. This is fine when used to add texture to something almost flat, at least compared to the distance from the eye to the object, but the Brooklyn pictures look particularly fake, and many others are "just wrong."

    I used to do this for a living several careers ago, doing 1500x photomicrography pairs at a research lab. I have no trouble viewing, but some are not lifelike, at least defined as "as the

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