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Superfocus 3D hack

Stereoscopic photos have been around since the 1800s. Widespread interest in them never really materialized outside of the various blips in popularity (ViewMaster, computer graphics, etc…). However, 3D is seeing another surge in popularity because digital photography has made it easier to create stereopscopic images. The benefit of digital photography is once you have the equipment, it costs almost nothing to experiment.

The problem with stereoscopic images is that special viewers (stereoscopes, glasses) are needed to see the 3D effect. Having to wear the special glasses is annoying if you have normal vision, but it is actually a problem if you have to fit them over a pair of prescription glasses.

A recent issue of Maxim had Anna Kournikova on the cover. If that wasn’t awesome enough, the photo shoot of her was published in 3D. In order to see her in all of her 3D loveliness, one needed a pair of blue/red glasses. A pair was provided as part of Honda’s ad of their new CR-Z hybrid vehicle.

When we saw the paper 3D glasses, a DIY hack immediately came to mind: apply one of the colored gels to each of the Superfocus lenses. What makes this hack easy is the magnetic mounts on the frame. The thin color films would be sandwiched between the layers and held in place by the lenses. All we had to do was trace the outline of the lens on the film, cut out the plastic, and mount it on the frame. Easy peasy! The project came together pretty much as we had envisioned it. The only thing unexpected was that the magnets did not hold as firmly with the films in the way. Trimming the films until they fit inside of the rims in order to maintain good contact between the magnets and the metal solved the problem.

Seeing Anna Kournikova in 3D with the hacked Superfocus glasses was pretty cool. However, what was even MORE impressive was Honda’s ad for the CR-Z Sport Hybrid in 3D 🙂 The vehicle literally floated on the page. One really felt like one can reach out, pick it up, and turn it about. The 3D effect was very realistic…especially the video on the Honda CR-Z site.

Judging by the kind of gear TV companies like Sony, Samsung, and Visio were showing at CES this year, 3D is the next big thing. Glasses are still required. Perhaps for our next project, we’ll get some polarizing film and see if we can hack the Superfocus to work with 3D TV 🙂

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