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Has 3D Video Finally Arrived? 200

Posted by kdawson
from the red-and-blue-glasses dept.
pospisil writes to point us to an enthusiastic writeup on Tech.blorge.com about a 3D display technology just launched at the eGames Expo in Melbourne. The technology, from a company called Fountain Consulting, is set to ship in January. From the article: "The Vortex Home Entertainment System isn't just set to revolutionize 3D forever, they have revolutionized it. With a library of 500 current PC-based games titles converted to flawless 3D, and even the ability to convert 2D live television into 3D live television, as well as pre-recorded movies on DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD." There is no second source for this story. Exciting news if it pans out.
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Has 3D Video Finally Arrived?

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  • by VanessaE (970834) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:58PM (#16909638) Homepage
    Jeez people, not a single comment and it's already slashdotted...give the rest of us a chance!
  • Uh oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Salvance (1014001) * on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:59PM (#16909650) Homepage Journal
    I'd truly hate to see what the adult entertainment industry would do with this one ... sure, there'd be some gems, but how many plots would revolve around having the stars "reach out and grab you" over and over.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Xolom (989077)
      since when do pornos need plots?
      they'd be better off without the awful acting and poor dialogue
      hours of fun, pure sex, no plot

      the "reach out and grab you" idea sounds like something off the 100 worst porn titles of all time list (http://members.shaw.ca/stayasyouare/tohwpmt.html [members.shaw.ca]
      • >they'd be better off without the awful acting and poor dialogue
        >hours of fun, pure sex, no plot

        Friday night at University! (for econ. majors)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Actually, I think I'd rather like to see with the adult entertainment industry would do with this one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by somersault (912633)
      With 3D porn you're kind of missing the point if you think it's the actors who'll do the reaching and grabbing.
    • 3D Television and video [razor3d.com] have been not only available but cheap for some time now, and the adult industry has basically ignored it. A few adult 3D movies were made some decades ago, but they were just treated as a novelty and didn't catch on.

      For stereoscopic video to catch on, there are two major requirements:
      1) no glasses. Sharp already makes displays that meet this qualification, as does one other manufacturer (I think it's phillips but I'm not sure).
      2) Cheap. No-glasses 3D displays are not yet anything li
      • by jdray (645332)

        ...or I can have the same size 3D display for the same price" then it will start to spread.

        More likely "or I can have the same size 3D display for only a 50% premium." People are willing to pay for what they want, they just have limits to their abilities to convince themselves that the "price:cool factor" ratio is low enough to afford.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pospisil (1027718)
      The article is also available at the Australian edition of TECH.BLORGE.com: http://www.freeaccess.com.au/Structure:%20/2006/11 /19/forget-hdtv-the-future-is-3dtv/ [freeaccess.com.au].
  • 3D TV (Score:2, Funny)

    by gadzook33 (740455)
    Ability to convert 2D television to 3D? I'm skeptical. Now, if there was a way to transmit my chocolate, that would be something.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Ability to convert 2D television to 3D? I'm skeptical.

      So am I. It's probably some stuff based on a vague shape "recognition" and the Z-axis data is "extrapolated" depending on the shape of the "recognized" area, in other words I guess it can give results but pretty bogus results. Still I guess it might do it for a lot of average joes, I'd be surprised if we ever saw "2D television converted in 3D" being ever widely adopted, sounds like a useless gadget.

      • The idea of converting 2D to 3D is not at all impossible, it is just very processor intensive. Here is a a basic outline of how it can be done:

        (1) Using Computer Vision Systems, a software program represents the scene it is seeing with 3D polyogon/spline models. This is not an easy task, but it is doable - a combination of heuristics, neural nets, basic image processing and 3D rendering out of a database of common models, combined with a GA / hill-climbing algorithm that compares rendered models agains
        • by 4D6963 (933028)

          Well that's a more detailed way to explain what I said, but this being said I think that no matter what you'll always get bogus results. That kind of stuff is pretty much like voice recognition, voice synthesis or text translation, will hardly ever be perfect or anywhere near that, mainly due to the kind of obstacles it meets (pretty much theorical ones). However I don't really know about the technology you're talking about, but it hardly can give more than an approximation of how things filmed really are l

    • by cptgrudge (177113)

      Ability to convert 2D television to 3D? I'm skeptical.

      I was once skeptical of many things too. Then I received the word from The Creator of the Universe, The Total Mind and Total Energy of All. With the divine secrets revealed in the sacred text [thepiratebay.org], I replaced the polluting engine in my car with a Magnogen Motor...uh, well...I'm in the process of replacing it. I can't seem to get the damn thing to work right, but I'm sure that's my fault.

      In any case, now I know that anything is possible, even the tran

  • by NeonGoat (824596) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:03PM (#16909684)
    You need a 3D monitor to view the site.
  • Here is a link to the "OMG JUST A COUPLE MORE DAYS UNTIL RELEASE" website that Tony's taken out for his company.

    http://www.3dvisual.com.au/ [3dvisual.com.au]

    The glasses look like the same old headache-inducing crap that no one wants to wear while watching TV.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:04PM (#16909694)
    ... ends here:

    "and even the ability to convert 2D live television into 3D live television, as well as pre-recorded movies on DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD."

    How can you "upconvert" 2D images to 3D when there is no 3D information to work with, hm?

    Will this be bundled with the Phantom? Launch alongside DNF?
    • different colors can be assigned different depths, much like the 3d glasses that came with your crayon set a decade ago.
      • by Guppy06 (410832)
        If that were all that is needed to upconvert any 2D images to 3D, we'd all be watching all shows with those goofy glasses on.

        Simply putting the glasses on doesn't change the fact that what you're watching was fimled from only one perspective at a time. No stereoscopic photography = no stereoscopic picture.
      • by ResidntGeek (772730) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:27PM (#16909874) Journal
        That's 3D data. As for the ACTUAL plausibility of the concept, I should hope the GP doesn't lose all depth perception when he closes one eye. Obviously it's possible to extrapolate 3D from 2D, just difficult.
        • by Guppy06 (410832)
          "Obviously it's possible to extrapolate 3D from 2D, just difficult."

          So's quantum tunneling a person through a wall.

          What we're talking about here is a fairly complicated function of the human brain. Considering the difficulty and expense involved in getting a computer that can handle walking, why should I believe that anything short of big iron can figure out how to do this, let alone on the fly?
        • Hold a small object and toss it back and forth from one hand to the other. Trivial, right?

          Now try it with one eye closed.

          • by 2short (466733)
            OK, I did that. Why didn't you?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by kfg (145172)
            So long as I follow the object with one eye, still trivial, although I admit it became rather trivial with both eyes closed after only about a dozen passes. Sight is not the only source of information on the path of the object.

            Human stereoscopic vision is optimized for the handling things we have in our hands. They are adjuncts to our opposable thumbs more than anything else. Fine control, close up. For tying the head on the spear shaft, not for throwing the spear.

            How many eyes does the sniper hold to his s
            • Let me confirm this. Kfg is right, most of our depth perception does not come from stereoscopic vision. Parallax, color fading, bluring, occlusion and about 10-20 other systems all process visual information to provide depth perception. I can still throw a ball or a frisbee right to you, but I have a hard time playing pool and I can't thread a needle to save my life.
          • by jackbird (721605)
            You don't juggle, do you?
        • by Joe Random (777564) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:02AM (#16910126)
          I should hope the GP doesn't lose all depth perception when he closes one eye
          Humans compensate for this in several ways. One is to move the head slightly side-to-side. This parallax information can help you in determining distance. Here's an example [sunpig.com]. Note that this requires extra information, so it's not useful in the case of upsampling 2D to 3D.

          Another method is to notice when one object occludes another. That could possibly be automated, but you'd need some very sophisticated image recognition and tracking technology. Possibly some pre-processing, too, to avoid objects suddenly "jumping" along the z axis as their size changes force their calculated distances to be modified.

          There's also the fact that we tend to know the relative sizes of various common objects, and comparing that to their perceived sizes can give rough distance information. That would require image recognition technology of a degree that we don't currently have, though.

          So it looks like occlusion is probably the only method that could glean 3D info from a 2D source with any degree of accuracy, and I can't imagine that that's be very accurate or, indeed, always possible. Plus, I suspect the results would look like a pop-up book, with different portions of the image represented as flat objects on different planes rather than 3D objects.
        • If I remmember correctly, if the brain is used to the item you are looking at, even looking with one eye you will ahve the eprception of depth, NOT because one eye is enough, but because the rbain "remember" it. Now try the same (only 1 eye) in an unfamiliar item or environment, that the brain cannot recognize.
    • Theoretically, on a scene where the camera is panning, you could have one eye see one or two frames ahead of the other. It would look like both eyes seeing it from different perspectives.

      I admit that this would be a very limited and not very good way to get 3D, but it's the only way I can think to do it.
      • 3D from single photos has been available for a little while, mostly working with geometric content lines to establish likely 3d patterns, then mapping the image onto that pattern. It's possible that they're using color and focus clues as well, though I don't know about that part.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuoljANz4EA [youtube.com]
        It's a pretty impressive technology. If you could do the analysis 60 times per second, you could have a convincing system for single-perspective 3D in most circumstances.

        I wish I could rem
    • by Coryoth (254751)

      How can you "upconvert" 2D images to 3D when there is no 3D information to work with, hm?

      Well I did some hunting and the company website [3dvisual.com.au] has this to say under "How does the Vortex works":

      By wearing 3D glasses you can turn many standard HDTV,plasma TVs, projector DLPs, CRTs on market today into a 3D displays. You can adjust the depth of 3D to your own comfort level without any confusing programming but simply clicking a button with the Vortex. The Vortex works either like a standard Windows based PC with mo

      • by Guppy06 (410832)
        Except that what I cut and pasted isn't talking about getting 3D from a 2D display but rather from 2D content, the "pre-recorded DVDs" mentioned in what I cut and pasted. That's saying that I could toss in Toy Story and this technology will magically make it 3D.

        Getting 3D off of a 2D display is easy enough; the most common way people have tried to do it on PCs is the past is with flicker glasses (the screen rapidly alternates between left and right eye information, while you wear glasses with LCD lenses t
        • by Coryoth (254751)
          I think you missed my point, which is that yes, the whole thing is indeed complete bullshit - and they didn't even do a very good of trying hide it: their website and description of "how it works" is laughable. The least they could do is provide some pseudoscience explanation with a lot of big words in it, but they can't even manage that much.
    • There are too many stories that amount to nothing more than psudeo-scientific marketing spam, as you have so succinctly pointed out the summary is enough to debunk them.

      Slashdot Bullsit Meter (SBM): I propose each story be displayed next to a thin vertical SBM, users can vote with either a lightbulb icon at the top or a steaming bullshit icon at the bottom. The benifit of a bullshit meter is that it would make reading the summary as redundant as reading TFA. Further, if you could sort stories by BS ratin
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by x2A (858210)
        Except for the fact that many slashdotters call bullshit because they do not understand the article, they do not believe that somebody has accomplished something simple because they cannot see how it would be possible, or misinterpret what is claimed to have been accomplished.

        A slashdot bullshit meter would in fact be, bullshit.

        • Except for the fact that many slashdotters call bullshit because they do not understand the article, they do not believe that somebody has accomplished something simple because they cannot see how it would be possible, or misinterpret what is claimed to have been accomplished.

          Well, in the case of this particular story, people are right to claim bullshit IMHO. There is no computational way of generating the 3D info out of thin air, short of having a computer powerful enough to "understand" the image and ex

          • by x2A (858210)
            "There is no computational way of generating the 3D info out of thin air, short of having a computer powerful enough to "understand" the image and extrapolate from secondary cues"

            You mean like the examples pointed out here [slashdot.org]?

            Like I said, many slashdotters call bullshit [...] simply because they cannot see how it would be possible.

            • Hmm, looks like that site has even difficulties with showing proper 2D images, let alone 3D.

              Call me back when they've ditched the flash

              • by x2A (858210)
                Who, YouTube?!! You are kidding right? You know how many people watch clips on youtube every day - without any problem? If anybody's got a problem with it, it's you, not them. I don't think Google would have paid $1.65B for a site that couldn't even display its content.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
      How can you "upconvert" 2D images to 3D when there is no 3D information to work with, hm?

      "Smart" algorithms can make some pretty good guesses based on the same kind of information that the mpeg compression algorithms use to create motion vectors. Yes, the motion vectors in mpeg are 2D in the plane of the screen, but add in some smarts to recognize "objects" that get bigger (approaching) and smaller (receding) and you've got enough info to do some pseudo 3D. If you can recognize rotation then you can do so
    • http://www.business-sites.philips.com/3dsolutions/ about/Index.html [philips.com] ...after checking the name of his logo, "philips3d.jpg."

      and seeing a "GoDaddy" proxied registration.

      Come on, guys. Even the most cursory inspection indicates "Fountain Consulting" is phoney-baloney.
  • Interesting (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jarjarthejedi (996957)
    If this actually does pan out that would be very cool. I have my doubts, however it does seem to be reputable. For people who can't see it here, http://www.itwire.com.au/index2.php?option=com_con tent&do_pdf=1&id=7242 [itwire.com.au], is a link to a PDF version of the text. I'm curious as to whether or not laptops will be able to use this technology. Pretty sure it's no but I can always hope they'll make something available...
  • Sure.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by andy753421 (850820) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:05PM (#16909706) Homepage
    "and even the ability to convert 2D live television into 3D live television" I hear their also adding a feature to 'zoom' and 'enhance' grainy pixelated feeds into high quality 1080p as well.
    • I think they're also adding Enemy-Of-The-State-o-vision, so you can rotate a person in a video capture completely around and see the contents of a messenger bag! It's 3D-eriffic! I can't wait!
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:14PM (#16909780)
      Expect any 2D to 3D conversion to work about as well as those B&W to colour conversion filters you could get back in the 50s and 60s. The tecnology they used was called "faith".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Well, they'll probably just do a CSI-style "reverse algorithmic" that'll just clean it right up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by x2A (858210)
      It's not that far fetched. There are all sorts of cues you can use to tell depth and then you can extrapolate an "off by 5 degrees" image; slightly stretch some pixels and shrink others for one eye, and the other way round for the other eye, will make one eye seem to see more of one side, and the other see more of the other.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGEQELp0uqA [youtube.com] (jump to around 2:30 to see example)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuoljANz4EA [youtube.com] (more examples)

      And these use a single picture to work from. If y
    • "and even the ability to convert 2D live television into 3D live television" I hear their also adding a feature to 'zoom' and 'enhance' grainy pixelated feeds into high quality 1080p as well.

      Can't wait to see this in action on the next season of CSI!

  • "The Vortex Home Entertainment System isn't just set to revolutionize 3D forever, they have revolutionized it."
    Well, thank goodness for that.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This one fooled me for a while too, but it is not actually redundant, only poorly worded. Perhaps it should read:

      "The Vortex Home Entertainment System isn't just SET to revolutionize 3D forever [in the future], they have [already] revolutionized it [in the present]."
    • by MartinB (51897)
      The Vortex Home Entertainment System isn't just set to revolutionize 3D forever, they have revolutionized it.
      Can we assume that to deliver the full 3d effect, this is a Total Perspective Vortex?
  • Definitely in the "If it sounds too good to be true ..." area. Jeeze guys, could you exercise a little critical thinking before fan boying all over it?
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      I see very little "fan boying" (that's one horrible verb) over these news actually, as is to be expected from the critical minded geeks on Slashdot. ;)
  • /.'d (Score:5, Funny)

    by neuro.slug (628600) <<neuro__> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:07PM (#16909722)
    Maybe when we have this new OMGWTF 3D technology, this text will look so 1337 I won't care:

    Error establishing a database connection

    This either means that the username and password information in your wp-config.php file is incorrect or we can't contact the database server at localhost. This could mean your host's database server is down.
    • Are you sure you have the correct username and password?
    • Are you sure that you have typed the correct hostname?
    • Are you sure that the database server is running?
    • [this really should be here] Did your page just get pwned by Slashdot?

    If you're unsure what these terms mean you should probably contact your host. If you still need help you can always visit the WordPress Support Forums.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:08PM (#16909736)
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:13PM (#16909774)
    Revolutionary 3D systems are anounced about as often as Bigfoot sightings and pan out about as often. I'll believe it when I see one.
    • Why are the answers to every Slashdot story ending posed as a question always, "NO." ?
      I would really like a story filter that removed any title with the "?" character.
  • But does it run linux in 3d? ;)
  • "Smellevision replaces television: Carl Stalling sez, 'It will never work!'" [wikipedia.org]

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:33PM (#16909920) Homepage

    It's straightforward to do this for 3D games, because the system has real depth information. Just use shutter glasses [ray3d.com] and render alternate frames with the viewpoint shifted by one eye separation distance. That's easy, and looks good if the system can render upwards of 70 fps.

    But any scheme for converting existing 2D content to "3D" will probably fall somewhere between "looks stupid" and "generates splitting headaches".

    Stereo vision doesn't do anything useful for objects more than a few meters away. It's most useful for close work, which is rare in games. It's more useful for mechanical CAD, medical imaging data, and similar stuff you need to view close up. Which is why 3D movies, TV, games, etc. never really caught on.

    • The Sega Master System sold 3D games with shutter glasses. The system actually worked really well except for objects close to the screen, as you'd get rather severe image separation if you were at all too close to the screen or if your television was bigger than they had expected.

      The Virtual Boy also provided real stereoscopic 3D images, though the instruction manual mentions on 5 of 7 pages that it will probably make you nauseous. And they weren't kidding.

      On the other hand, work from Carnegie Mellon [youtube.com] earl
    • It's straightforward to do this for 3D games, because the system has real depth information. Just use shutter glasses and render alternate frames with the viewpoint shifted by one eye separation distance. That's easy, and looks good if the system can render upwards of 70 fps.

      Nvidia [nvidia.com] already offers stereo 3d drivers which work great with my eMagin [emagin.com] 3d visor. As you say the games already have Z depth information to render a realistic environment, which the software just renders from a slightly offset perspecti
    • True. 3D is not the most important thing. Having a very large field of view is the key to making you feel you are there. Sadly, most head mounted displays have a very poor FOV, even the very expensive ones.
  • by BaronSprite (651436) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:45PM (#16909994) Homepage
    Ben Affleck will take this apart and make a better one in about 5 minutes.
  • flicker++ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lucas teh geek (714343) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:54PM (#16910066)
    haha americans, for once I can say I was there... and it sucked. perhaps it'd be useful if you want to induce epileptic fits in people, but honestly, the "3D Video" stall was really lame. people would pick up the glasses, look for a while wondering why nothing happened, then someone would point out then needed to be infront of the little sensor/projector thing. so they'd move in front of it, and think to themselves "wow, this looks like crap and is giving me a headache" and put the glasses back down. total turnaround time of about a minute.
  • by zik (160926) on Monday November 20, 2006 @12:05AM (#16910146) Homepage
    I was at the eGames expo on Friday and tried out the 3d display. My thought was "Oh, someone's still doing the LCD shutter glasses?". It was just the same old technology from years ago as far as I could see. The only new thing was that they'd made a clever driver which hooked into DirectX so existing games could be used in 3d.

    Sorry guys, there was no 2d->3d conversion at all.
    • What nVidia's been doing for years then? http://www.nvidia.com/object/3d_stereo.html [nvidia.com] for more info, but I remember having a pair of these back in the GeForce 3 days. It would work with any 3D game, though how good it looked depended on the game, my guess is it had to do with how it handled the 3D data. The most impressive were (of course) the nVidia demos which could actually appear to jump out of the screen a bit.

      Looks like these days they aren't doing their own glasses, but rather have drivers that will w
    • by cananian (73735)
      Yes, it's pretty simple to take the Z buffer from any OpenGL/DirectX game and make a quasi-3d display from it. The technology to do 2d->3d live conversion exists (it depends on camera tracking to provide different views and thus an estimate of depth) but would be a much bigger technical challenge (and much more likely to not work well in practice).
  • They had to come out with this just after I got my 60" HDTV. It's so EXPENSIVE staying current!

    j/k
  • As many other posters have pointed out, this is not real 3D. If it were, I would be able to move to the side and look *behind* the characters in the show. Such information simply isn't there, and can't be faked. They can play games like with the colored glasses, but that's about it.

    Now, if they could convert some of these movies to make them GOOD, that would be something.
  • hmmm. i think it goes something like: smoke and mirrors.
    i have to invest in some of them. everyone's buying it!
  • With a library of 500 current PC-based games


    499 of which are rule variations of solitare.
  • ...how there were a lot of text books written about virtual reality in the late 70s or so...I even remember the slogan on the back of one of them,
    "Virtual Reality will not replace television. It will eat it alive."

    Thing is...and this is what none of the academics at the time could have predicted...but "virtual reality," as it turned out, didn't happen.

    Doom did.
  • Oh dear me. From http://www.3dvisual.com.au/html/vortex.html [3dvisual.com.au]

    "The Vortex System Console

    - Windows XP Platform- 7.1 20-bit Audio THX Cirtified
    - Entertainment Interface Shell- Dolby Digital-EX & DTS-ES
    - 3D Profile Settings- 24 Bit Crystalizer
    - Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz, 800 MHZ FSB - 109 db SNR Playback
    - 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM- IR Remote Control
    - Data Storage BFG Nvidia 6800 GTOC
    - 2 7,200 RPM 300 GB drives- 256 MB GDDR3
    - External 16 x Dual Layer DVD RAN Drive - 370 MHz Core Clock
    - Ethernet Port- 1000 MHz Mem Clock
    -
  • in the 60's , 70's and 80's , when it was slow news week, the common nerd/geek magazine would sport an article on flying cars; in 90's and 00's , it is 3D TV (or 3D computer screens).
  • I've been seeing good auto-steroscopic 3D displays at SIGGRAPH for over a decade. They operation on different principles, some using vertical lense systems, others using multiple depth-of-focus planes, to name a few. They all seem to be fishing for some sort of market. Some try for high-end scientific or military visualization. Others aim toward the advertisment market.

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