What’s Next for 3D Viewing Technology?
Nintendo 3DS Rhetorical Analysis Follow-up
Note: my apologies for any oddities you might notice in this "paper". There were technical difficulties when I transfered this document into a blog post format and I can't seem to fix them completely. If you wish, you can view the original version here instead.Introduction
The recent decade of technological advancements has certainly been an interesting time period to live in. Phones, watches, televisions, cars - all different kinds of devices are now becoming part computer in one way or another, but amongst all these adaptations there’s been a noticeable lack of the creation of a brand new “killer app”. Though we’ve had devices become more “sophisticated” in a sense, no completely new ideas have really come to the public eye as scientists seem to want to modernize what already exists instead. From this, a certain type of technological innovation has been able to reach out of it’s niche and become a topic of interest; I am of course talking about the use of stereoscopic 3D viewing technology.
Though this kind of tech has existed since the mid-19th century, interest seems to waver around it due to the kinds of issues it can present, as well as doubts on whether said technology has any kind of future. Specifically speaking, many wonder if 3D viewing can really be favored over other kinds of viewing types that exist. From looking at various sources on the material, I hope to present an educated answer to this subject.
Digital VS Physical
The first thing to consider is the use of digital means of viewing material. It is thanks to the advancement of digital viewing that 3D technology was able to advance as far as it did. Being restricted to film usage (or similar) due to how such technology works, digital media and entertainment allowed people to find ways to emulate 3D viewing in other ways. Most notable being the glasses free Nintendo 3DSTM, which was an advancement of their previous 3D endeavor: the Nintendo VirtualBoyTM.
Point is, if digital viewing technology of the entertainment variety were to lower in popularity over time, it would most likely spell doom to stereoscopic 3D, as it’s one of the only areas of the digital realm that can be used to try out experimental usage of the tool and find it’s benefits/shortcomings. Thankfully, a multitude of sources have been able to find positive outlets of digital entertainment that warrant it staying around society for years to come. As an example, in 2014 an experiment was conducted around game-based digital interventions for depression therapy.
The results suggest that digital entertainment was more successful in treating such cases than traditional means. Even then, the article states how more tests on this subject matter still need to be conducted to come to a better conclusion on the matter, so digital entertainment will stay around for that reason alone. With this, worries over stereoscopic 3D’s experimental outlet disappearing are nothing more than a pipe dream.
3D VS 2D
Another question comes from whether 3D really has as much staying power as 2D viewing does. The reason why any form of technology has been able to become something that’s used by the masses is because of the public’s ability to adopt the new machinery, as well as the technology’s ability to adapt to different kinds of applications that the public may or may not use. Simply put, if 3D viewing can’t be as naturally used in different contexts as 2D viewing can, people may not be willing to give this venture a chance. Cases in the past have shown people’s reluctance to bring in such technology for various reasons, but there’s still hope yet. According to several articles, 3D has actually been able to be applied in various ways that the average person may not realize, so getting such technology into the average user’s hands might just be a need to better trigger people’s curiosity in the future. Afterall, it would take years for television to be so common place in the household, and even longer for technology like phones to become so commonplace that people of almost all age groups have one. 3D might just be taking a slower pace to become a standard of our daily life.
3D vs VR
As of very recently gadgets have appeared that’ve made the idea of virtual reality a real possibility. With the ability to not only allow users to see things in simulated 3D, but to also transport them mentally into that place in an immersive fashion has definitely been the most pressing issue for stereoscopic 3D. All things considered, this is actually a case where 3D just can’t keep up. Whereas people have been trying for centuries to make 3D work in different environments - with concerns coming in left and right about it’s unspoken effects on us, VR has been received incredibly well despite the problems it has. Take this video below for example, which talks about the issue of “VR sickness”, or lack thereof.
Though focusing more on the video game side of things, the main aspect this video shows is how despite VR having issues like these health problems come up, there are still plenty of people who are advocating for the advancement of this new tech. Various outlets talk solely about the excitement and hope in the air surrounding VR, which is just not something that you see or hear about when it comes to 3D - despite it being around for so much longer. Even services that toted themselves as advocators of such simulated 3D technology for decades like Mattel’s View-Master® have now switched over to using VR technology due to its overwhelming popularity. As such, it would seem like this is a situation where 3D technology’s future looks bleak as VR ends up overshadowing it in the public’s eye.
It’s a fairly tough call to say if stereoscopic 3D has a future ahead. Though traits like the first two mentioned are in it’s favor, being challenged by a visual stimuli that functions identical but has additional uses to it and is much better received by the general public, is incredibly daunting to say the least. We’ve seen such cases occur in the past with other forms of technology, like the transition from records, to tapes, to CDs; or from VHS to DVD (and to Blu-Ray to an extent). As technology gets better, comparatively older systems fall behind as everyone wants to have whatever the “hot new thing” out on the market is. If something major were to happen to cause the abrupt halt of VR, maybe things could change in 3D’s favor, otherwise I think stereoscopic 3D is slowly going to slowly go back to it’s little niche again. This time, possibly for good.
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 Rio Kevin (2007). How It Works: The Evolution of 3D Glasses and 3D Technology. Journal of Young Investigators. Retrieved from: http://www.jyi.org/issue/how-it-works-the-evolution-of-3d-glasses-and-3d-technology/
 Li Jinhui, Theng Yin-Leng, and Foo Schubert. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. July 2014, 17(8): 519-527. doi:10.1089/cyber.2013.0481.
 Harris, Mark. “3D Without Four Eyes.” IEEE, 29 Nov. 2010.
 Cass, Stephen. “CES and the Future of VR.” IEEE, 2 March 2016.
 “Super Bunnyhop” (2017). Motion Sickness in VR. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/x3mMc_0_UtU
 Image retreived from: http://thecuttingcafe.typepad.com/cutting_cafe_blog/2013/05/its-inspiration-timeviewmaster-fun.html
 View-Master® is a registered trademark owned by Mattel. https://www.view-master.com/en-us
 Image retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/mattel-classic-view-master-toy-modern-vr-makeover/story?id=34203285
 Image retrieved from: https://www.engadget.com/2015/08/20/video-games-mental-illness/
 Image retrieved from: https://www.slashgear.com/why-im-willing-to-give-3d-tv-a-try-11118944/
 Image retrieved from: http://www.ibtimes.com/apple-iphone-versus-lg-optimus-3d-and-htc-evo-3d-will-these-android-smartphones-destroy-iphoneNintendo 3DSTM and Nintendo VirtualBoyTM are both trademark Nintendo Co., Ltd.