Daniel Phelps

Maker/Educator

Stereoscopy for the 21st century The iPhone 3D Viewer

 Description of Project:

I have built three cheap and easy devices to produce, and display, 3D stereoscopic moving images. All of these devices use 19th century techniques  (Stereoscopy) in conjunction with ubiquitous 21st century consumer hardware (Apple Inc.’s iPhone).

At This Stage, I intend to develop and produce:

  1. An economical paper version of my iPhone Stereoscope for distribution to view my works on the iPhone. (Relationships with an established 3D paper glass company have been established. American Paper Optics, LLC, www.3dglassesonline.com)
  2. Create 3D works related to the field of nature conservation. Due to the proliferation of the iPhone in the urban environment, I feel that the nature of 3D would benefit those lacking awareness of the world outside the city.
  3. Distribute these 3D works via a custom mage iPhone application via the iPhone SDK, and the iPhone’s own built in YouTube application.
  4. Encourage and creation of an online community for user submission of works online, to be viewed on my simple device.

Narrative:

My device and distribution method, uses networked portable devices as a playback medium. Although, any handheld device capable of producing a moving image would be able to reproduce a stereoscopic effect, I have chosen the iPhone as the playback device to mock-up for this project because of its network connectivity, popularity by tech enthusiasts, and its ease of use by the consumer. As delivery medium changes for the consumer, the basic idea of stereoscopy remains the same as it has for 120 years… Look at disparate images through a viewer to create an added dimension and heightened reality.

To better develop this idea of creating modern stereograph equipment for enthusiasts, I have broken this project down into three parts:

Recording: I have built two devices capable of producing a 3-D image using standard consumer video cameras.

The large device was produced to test the use of my mirror concept in creating the 2 disparate images seen in stereoscopic photography. In addition to saving money by only using only one video camera to produce a 3D image, this device provides a challenge to the “Do it Yourself” enthusiast. This device requires little editing to the recorded image, but is more difficult to build. Material costs are a little over $40.00 and can use any camera that is capable of producing a 16×9 (widescreen) image, has manual focus, and can record in a progressive (30p) frame rate. In real world testing, 3D quality of this device is acceptable.

 

The smaller and more simplistic device uses two cameras to record a stereoscopic image. This design incorporates the more traditional approach to stereo photography and differs from the above device due to its lack of mirrors and build complexity. The device is cheaper and simpler to build but more expensive in its total cost due to its use of dual cameras. In addition, because twoseparate sources (cameras) are used, as opposed to one with the larger device, more editing time is needed to prepare the images for playback on a portable device. In real world testing, 3d images from this device are excellent.

Both devices produce stereoscopic images that can be played back on a portable device. Although they produce the images with a varying degree of accuracy and affordability, the devices are useless without a popular playback device. I believe that with technological advancements, and the popularity of 3D in the future, recording of digital stereo images will become easier to produce and playback.

 

Playback: I have used a simple pre-fabricated “Pocket Stereoscope” to attach to the iPhone. This device provides the eyes, and the brain, with the cohering needed to produce the stereoscopic effect required for adding dimension to a 2D image.

This stereoscope provides the correct focal length for the iPhone and does not require adjustment for those who dont use glasses. To accommodate the different focal lengths for people that do require glasses, a traditional focal length adjuster is needed for the next version of the playback device.

The intent is to create a cheap (read 10 cent) version of this viewer similar to the way traditional 3D glasses are made today.

The iPhone is not the only device that can potentially play back a stereograph. These same consumer lenses could be applied to other mobile phones, iPods, Portable DVD Players, PSPs, and any other device with a moderate pixel density that is capable of displaying full motion video.

Distribution: The iPhone was chosen for this project because of its integration with YouTube. With the built in iPhone application, users can share 3D videos and experience other videos recorded from other users around the world. YouTube also eases the burden of creating videos for any device. The stereoscope user has access to a diverse collection of videos without actually owning a 3D camera of their own. This networked use is the heart of the system and provides something that Holmes’ original stereoscope system did not, near instant 3D viewing of anything on the planet nearly anywhere on the planet.

 

A device with network connectivity has a big advantage over one that uses a physical format (i.e. DVD, Flash media, Hard Disks) because of the amount of video that can be made available to the user. Distribution outlets will grow as all information devices are networked.

 

Other uses for these designs: To encourage popularity of these devices one could distribute designs under a creative commons license. This method could spur the “DIY” community to embrace and improve on the technology. Both design concepts (camera and playback) could be improved upon and applied to current and new digital technology. I also believe because of the ease of networked distribution, users would create groups or “pools” of videos for their community, and the world, to enjoy and experiment with.

 

Instructions for use:

Located within the link below, you will find sample footage shot with the 3D devices in addition to images of the devices being created.

The video is formatted for use on the iPhone or and QuickTime device. It can be uploaded to the iPhone through iTunes and used with stereoscopic glasses, or a pocket stereoscope (not provided) at the correct focal length.

You can also view sample video created by the recording devices directly from the iPhone Youtube Application located on the Home screen. If you have access to an iPhone, please do a search for “Phelps iPhone 3D Test”. Or go to the link below:

* Please note that streaming the “Phelps iPhone 3D Test” sample video will require a WiFi connection to be viewed at full quality. If viewed while connected to the cellular network, the video will be degraded immensely. Although… the effect of highly compressed 3D footage is quite spectacular. Various degrees of compression have been applied to the test footage as a way measure its effects on the perception of depth.

(Dogma)[Rorschach] – (Painting 2009)

Project Abstract:

When conjuring up this idea for (Dogma)[Rorschach], I wanted to take in account some of the topics that I had been thinking about over the past few months and a few of themes stood out:

1. The interaction popular culture media has with each other and how we only use and discern what we know, while throwing out the rest

2. The definition of manufacture of consent

3. Control of public opinion is a means to controlling public behavior.

4. Fiction and factious personalities is what the public understands.

 

Obviously, some of these themes are pulled from my recent reading of Lippman’s Public Opinion. But I can’t help but think that my there have been other influences from the various forms of media that I’ve been consuming at the same time. 

I found an amazing amount of similarity between Public Opinion by Walter Lippman, and The Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Are these two readings similar, or was I just projecting my recent thoughts, fascinations, and curiosities about society on a graphic novel?

In addition to these two pieces of work interacting with each other, I found myself thinking about the influence of one of the BIGGEST influencers of public opinion of all time, religious dogma.

How does society see itself in the writings of religious documents?

What you see at the top of the page is the result of this line of questioning.  (Dogma)[Rorschach]

 

Quotes referenced/used:

Quran

Fear God and he will give you knowledge.

Believers, Jews, Sabaeans or Christians – whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right – shall have nothing to fear or regret.

O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.

He deserves paradise who makes his companions laugh.

God is with those who persevere.

The ink of the scholar and the blood of a martyr are of equal value in heaven

What God writes on your forehead you will become

Attend constantly to prayers and to the middle prayer and stand up truly obedient to Allah.

He said: The prayer of you both has indeed been accepted, therefore continue in the right way and do not follow the path of those who do not know.

 

Bible

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding.

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.

Uncle Sam (Remixed 2009)

If you’ve ever read Uncle Sam (The Illustrated Novel) you’ll appreciate the re-appropriation of this one. Starring 2008 political characters.

Scroll through the book or view as full screen.