Japanese R&D brings 3D technology closer to home

October 2nd, 2009 by Jason Jenkins

3D_blue_1503D_red_150While most people look to Hollywood films and childrens’ features for the latest in 3D technology (selections from James Cameron’s “Avatar” will be premiered at TIFF this month), much of the coming onslaught of multidimensional entertainment is emerging here in Japan, and far the multiplex.

For starters, there is Fujifilm’s pricey new 3D compact camera and viewing system. Early reviews of the Finepix REAL 3D W1 have not been kind (or fair), but it would still behoove gadget hounds to read up before plonking down the estimated ¥100,000 for the gear required. Sony’s new HFR Comfort-3D is for pros capturing live-action events, and at 240 frames-per-second, that’s a lot of action. We’ll watch, too, because if Engadget is right, 3D tech may really be the killer app for sports.

If Sir Howard Stringer is correct, we’ll all be watching these sporting events on 3D TVs by next year. Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and every other major electronics producer either has or will have product ready by then, but a good place to look for the latest news will be at the CEATEC convention in Makuhari Messe next week, where many of the latest gear will be announced.

For gamers, the Playstation 3 will soon offer 3D capability to all of its existing games. The Xbox is likely to do the same. While not 3D in its conventional sense, I like how these games use voxel data and the now-ubiquitous tilt-shift photography method to give a sense of depth.

Perhaps the most significant application of 3D technology to affect our lives won’t come from entertainment but from the incorporation of haptic technology. Japanese scientists are now working on holograms that you can touch (or feel like you’re touching anyway), and everyone is talking about when our keyboards will be replaced with sci-fi e-Gloves that search and organize the Web more intuitively than our wireless mouse and track pad ever could. Yes, the future is here – you can almost reach out and give it a squeeze.

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