Stereoscopic 3D visualization is used in many areas, ranging from entertainment media to use in medicine and research. But how did it develop? This review delves into this question and provides a brief overview of the stereoscopic progression.
The beginning of stereoscopy dates back to around when the Greek mathematician Euclid found out how humans achieve the depth perception of the world around them. His findings revealed that the depth we perceive is achieved because of the fact that our eyes simultaneously receive two almost exact images, but with a little bit of difference in the perspective. Then our brain fuses these two images into one picture with depth.
Stereoscopy in the 19th century
The first method for stereoscopic visualization was invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838. Stereoscopy is the enhancement of the illusion of depth in a photograph, movie, or other two-dimensional image by presenting a slightly different image to each eye. Charles Wheatstone used two drawings with a little different perspective and two mirrors to reflect them and positioned the two images, so that the viewer could simultaneously see them with his eyes and thus the illusion of real depth was achieved.
In 1850 Sir William Brewster invented an inexpensive viewing device for stereographs called the lenticular stereoscope. This device is a closed box that has one or two openings for light. Two lenses are located on the top and enable the viewer to see a 3D image on the floor of the box. He also devised a two-lens camera with which it was possible to take pictures of moving objects.
In America, doctor and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes helped to popularize stereographs by inventing a hand viewer in 1861. In addition, he promoted the creation of stereograph libraries. Ultimately stereoscopes ranged from small, inexpensive hand-held devices to large pieces of furniture like the so-called Kaiserpanorama constructed by August Fuhrmann in 1880.
In 1853 Wilhelm Rollmann developed the first method to produce anaglyph images. These images are made up of two color layers, superimposed, but offset with respect to each other to produce a depth effect. Usually the main subject is in the center, while the foreground and background are shifted laterally in opposite directions. The picture contains two differently filtered colored images, one for each eye. When viewed through the "color coded" "anaglyph glasses", they reveal an integrated stereoscopic picture.
Stereoscopy in the 20th century
In 1903 Frederic Eugene Ives patented the parallax stereogram, the first "no glasses" autostereoscopic 3D display technology. A compound image consisting of fine interlaced vertical slivers of a stereoscopic pair of images was seen in 3D when viewed through a slightly separated fine grid of correctly spaced alternating opaque and transparent vertical lines, now known as a parallax barrier. The grid allowed each eye to see only the slivers of the image intended for it.
The practice of viewing film-based transparencies in stereo via a viewer dates to at least as early as 1931, when Tru-Vue began to market filmstrips that were fed through a handheld device made of Bakelite. In the 1940s, a modified and miniaturized variation of this technology was introduced as the View-Master. Pairs of stereo views are printed on translucent film which is then mounted around the edge of a cardboard disk, images of each pair being diametrically opposite. A lever is used to move the disk so as to present the next image pair. A series of seven views can thus be seen on each card when it was inserted into the View-Master viewer.
Polarized stereoscopic pictures have been around since 1936, when Edwin H. Land first applied it to motion pictures. The so-called "3D movie craze" in the years 1952 through 1955 was almost entirely offered in theaters using polarizing projection and glasses. Only a minute amount of the total 3D films shown in the period used the anaglyph color filter method. Linear polarization was also the standard in the 80s.
Liquid crystal shutter glasses were first invented by Stephen McAllister of Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation in the mid-1970s. The prototype had the LCDs mounted to a small cardboard box using duct tape. The glasses were never commercialized due to ghosting, but E&S was a very early adopter of third-party glasses such as the StereoGraphics CrystalEyes in the mid-1980s.
As we go along, the spectroscopy captured almost all areas of information technology today. The success that started in photography and continued in cinema will tomorrow find its way into TV and PC gaming.
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