April 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM ET
Surely this is the tech demo the folks at Nintendo don't want you to see. It's an iPad pulling off some nifty 3-D visual tricks that you don't need special 3-D glasses to see
French researchers Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay from the Grenoble Informatics Laboratory have posted a video demonstrating an application running on an iPad 2 that uses the front-facing camera to track the position of the user's head and thus generate "a glasses-free monocular 3-D display."
That's right, their app doesn't use the accelerometer in the iPad but instead follows user's movements kind of like the Kinect controller does. And the implications for gaming are clear. We could be playing glasses-free 3-D games on our iPads and iPhones in the not-too-distant future.
The researchers have also demonstrated the same monocular 3-D on an iPhone.
The duo gives props to some pretty nifty work done by Johnny Chung Lee, who showed off similar head tracking-based 3-D on the Nintendo Wii a few years back. In fact, in this video demonstration of his work, Lee does a good job explaining how this particular type of 3-D works:
And speaking of Nintendo ... the game company recently launched its own 3DS game machine — a gadget that plays games in 3-Dwithout requiring users to wear glasses. Nintendo, no doubt, went this 3-D route in an effort to deliver a gaming experience that iPhones and iPads couldn't (what with these devices becoming increasingly competitive in the handheld gaming space).
Of course, the 3DS offers a very different kind of 3-D technology — there's no head tracking involved but instead the device uses a parallax barrier screen that sends different images to each eye to create the 3-D effect. And the 3-D visuals on the Nintendo 3DS are quite impressive ... though they do require viewers to keep their heads directly in front of the gadget (something the type of 3-D tech demoed above wouldn't require).
One thing's for sure, if 3-D gaming on the iPhone and iPad moves beyond tech demos to become tech reality any time soon, you can bet that won't be good news for Nintendo.
(Thanks to VentureBeat for the heads up.)
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