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Making 3-D easier on the eyes

Mar 2011
Laura S. Marshall,

Amid news that Nintendo’s new handheld 3DS could be unsafe for children under 6, photonics companies ramped up efforts toward protection standards for three-dimensional viewing equipment and systems.

The gaming company announced in December that experts say the eyes of children under 6 are still growing and developing, and that this development could be hampered if the eyes are exposed to 3-D movies, television and games; the problem appears to lie in the fact that 3-D systems deliver different images to the right and left eyes. Nintendo encourages parents of young children to switch to the 2-D option when their kids are in the room.

Amid concerns about the safety of new 3-D display systems, companies are developing new technologies and calling for eye protection standards.

In addition, specialists have reported that people of any age can feel uncomfortable or dizzy for about 30 minutes after viewing a film using 3-D glasses because of muscle weakness in the eye and decreased color response.

Zecotek Photonics Inc., which develops technologies for medical, scientific and industrial uses, first called for safety standards to govern 3-D systems in March 2010 and renewed that call after Nintendo made its announcement.

“We are calling those in the 3-D industry to develop standards and guidance for 3-D systems which will be used by the consumer, particularly children, for long viewing periods,” said Dr. A.F. Zerrouk, chairman, president and CEO of Zecotek Photonics Inc., in a statement.

Zecotek, it turns out, has a 3-D system of its own, which it says is easier on the eyes. “We have developed a 3-D auto-stereoscopic display which does not require viewers to wear glasses, and because the 3-D effect is produced using the widest possible number of views, it provides a much more natural viewing experience than those systems requiring glasses,” Zerrouk said. “The Zecotek 3-D display system has an effective viewing angle of up to 50° with 90 concurrent perspectives, allowing for multiple views at the same time.

“Due to the large number of perspectives, our 3-D system has the important feature of constant motion parallax within the viewing angle. Motion parallax eliminates the sense of imbalance and dizziness during normal observation which can occur with polarized and shutter glasses used with other commercial systems due to the limited number of views.”

Other companies are working on improving the safety and quality of 3-D as well. Panasonic announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January that it has teamed up with the government of Japan to establish 3-D safety guidelines for manufacturers of consumer electronics as well as for broadcasters and those who produce 3-D content. And LG Display announced at CES that its next-generation film patterned retarder technology will eliminate all the health, convenience and cost issues associated with existing shutter glass 3-D technology.

3-D displays3-D games3-D movies3-D TVA.F. ZerroukAmericasAsia-PacificBiophotonicsBusinessCESchild safetyConsumerConsumer Electronics ShowDisplayseyesightfilm patterned retarder technologygamingindustrialJapanLG DisplayNintendoNintendo 3DSPanasonicprotection standardsRapidScanZecotek Photonics

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