#74: Alternative 3-D display

When you look at some image (whether an old master or some pastoral scene on your desktop) it usually looks flat and obviously unreal. That is partly because of that fact that when viewing with both eyes, the brain can easily detect that some picture of a 3-D scene is just 2-D.

One way to get more from such images is to view them, using one eye, through a stationary frame. Often an artist or photographer will have cleverly composed their image so as to contain many ‘monocular depth cues‘ -elements like texture which blurs as it ‘recedes’ into the image. When the image is seen using only one eye, these cues get a chance to be interpreted strongly by the brain and everything can seem much more realistic and 3-D.

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Today’s invention is therefore an ultra-cheap and crude alternative to 3-D displays. It consists of a simple mechanical ‘headset’ that allows someone to sit with their head very still relative to a screen whilst they view images through a frame which is closer to the user than to the screen itself. One eye would be blanked off, although this could perhaps be allowed to alternate every few hours to minimise fatigue.

Certain games, works of art and tv shows might even be designed to incorporate lots more depth cues to enhance this effect and reduce the need for customer purchases of electronic display hardware.

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