Apple iPad 2′s front-facing camera allows for glasses-free 3D (with video)

“Thanks to its front-facing camera, the iPad 2 is capable of producing a glasses-free 3D effect using head-tracking technology,” Killian Bell reports for Cult of Mac.

“Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay from the Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble at the EHCI Research Group have used this technology, along with some really basic applications, to show off what the iPad 2 is capable of when it comes to 3D,” Bell reports.

Read more in the full article here.

Federico Viticci reports for MacStories, “By combining head-tracking technology that uses the iPad’s front facing camera with basic 3D graphics, they have developed a glasses-free 3D experience that doesn’t require the accelerometer, but it’s entirely based on the camera and the movements of a user’s head in front of the screen.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


      1. It does not matter if you are holding the screen or if its stationary. That has no bearing on anything.

        Johnny Lee used Wiimotes and the LED bar for tracking on the Wii. On the Kinnect they used a camera and gyro. On this demo they eliminated the gyro and were able to use a camera only.

        Its slick, not ground breaking, more of an evolutionary step of the technology in general.

        Its also not tied to any specific hardware which is pretty cool. Any device with a front facing camera could implement this.

    1. Chris, perhaps you didn’t see the part where the wonkey glasses were required.

      The concept of DISPLAYING 3D VIA dynamic parallax display is not new (actually predates the wii by several decades) what is cool and new and important is not the dynamic parallax display concept (which, again, is likely older than you are) but that this is auto tracking the users eyes and is on a handheld tablet.

    2. just because Jimmy Lee cobbled together a laptop and a teevee for a theoretical demo that never resulted in an actuall product is like saying that when Tesla invented electrical power, Ben Franklin already did that. This shit will be mainstream on iPads within months. Knect my ass, just wait until you see 3d games being served from iPhone 5 in 1080p.

  1. This is just an extension of the work already done by Johnny Lee on the Wii back in 2007, and many others.

    Its also not “3D” in the sense most people are used to. Both of your eyes see the same image so there is no illusion of something popping out of the screen.

    I could see an illusion of depth being created with this technique.

    If you followed Johnny Lee’s work and the work of the Kinnect team at MS its pretty clear that what you have here is very similar head tracking but without a gyro.

    Its a cool improvement and any device with a front facing camera would be capable of using the technique.

    1. This,- using dynamic parallax based on the users viewpoint to synthesize a 3d viewport- is a very old concept.

      What makes it new, news and unique is, it is; One- software only, no tracking hardware or “possessional headgear” is required. And two- this is being done on a “general purpose” hand held tablet.

    1. There are two elements to our 3d perception: (1)depth perception and (2)relative perspective. “3D” like you’d see in a movie theater is only depth perception and not truly 3D. Like wise, this technique only gives you relative perspective.

      Our brain constructs 3 dimensional understanding from both elements, and more of it comes from perspective. That’s why you can see a static 2D picture and know the relative size of everything in it, because your brain is basing it all on perspective.

      This is a powerful tool in 3d display, don’t write it off because it’s not what advertisers call “real 3D”.

      1. Thank you for adding something intelligent to the discussion. Apple patents show that Apple has itself been working on camera head-tracking. I would imagine a combination of head tracking with an autostereoscopic screen would produce the best 3D effect short of holography, creating both depth and perspective.

      1. Thanks ChrissyOne. I’m still a wee bit befuddled as to how this effect is “filmable,” but I do get it.
        And to everyone else who read my post questioning this, my apologies.

  2. This is a new enough implementation in that a mobile device has flexibility and a shifting environment along with a degree of interactivity not present on more stationary displays. True it is not true3D, but this is about perception, not reality. I see gaming and educational uses in this next step 🙂

  3. Very impressive but I think many think of Stereo like in the movies and now TVs as 3D. This is great for perspective views of graphic shapes but not what I would call glasses-free 3D like the TV manufacturers are trying to accomplish. You could not see a pair of stereo photos in 3D with this method.

    1. Traditional 3D with stereo images is just our eyes superimposing two slightly different images on to each other. I would bet a computer progam could take existing 3D content and perform the superimposing for us then let the head tracking make it appear as a 3D image.

  4. I love how everyone here is ‘so far ahead of the the technology curve’. All you did was watch a video using this type of technology however long ago…….that makes you an expert? That makes this old news? And how can you say it has no depth, are you watching with a patch over one eye? It has quite a lot of depth. I didn’t realize there were so many geniuses in here.

    Tell me geniuses, since this is old and something we’ve seen so long ago, what current ‘available’ apps incorporate this technology? I’m sure the current apps must be far beyond this archaic demonstration, right? The answer is none, maybe you’ll find the app you’re looking for on your Xoom.

    1. No, I’m simply saying that capturing a visual 3-D experience is not possible using standard video cameras. Hence the reason that there is no “3-D” footage available for the Nintendo 3DS. It required visual input to both eyes for the effect to work. So, in my opinion, the footage we’re seeing in the above video is faked.

      1. Then you obviously didn’t watch the video C1 posted for you. Head tracking uses a camera to render an image 3D on the screen by changing the image based on where your head is. It doesn’t relay on your eyes playing mental tricks like traditional 3D so it is fimable.

      2. In my opinion, if you are able to generate the perception of depth on 2-D screen, you are emulating 3-D. Just ask all the engineers here working in SolidWorks or AutoCAD what type of work they are doing and they’ll tell you 3-D. Of course they are manipulating an object in 3-D space using a mouse, but it is still considered 3-D. Yes, this idea is not new, and Johnny Lee did some really nice work with the WII, but this technique of using the built in iPad/iPhone camera is really slick. We’ll be seeing this on all devices with a built in camera very soon me thinks. Kudos to Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay.

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