from University Joseph Fourier, originally released 21st May, 2011

i3D is an overview of Head-Coupled Perspective (HCP) on iOS devices. HCP uses the front camera of the device to track the face of the user in real time. This information tells the app how the user is looking at the display. The app updates the perspective of the 3D scene accordingly, giving the user...

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i3D Tech Demo Creates Glasses-Free 3-D Effect on iOS

From the number of 3-D movies and TVs being made, to Nintendo’s 3DS, it’s clear that the 3-D entertainment revolution is upon us. But since Apple hasn’t released 3-D-capable hardware, there’s no non-goofy-looking way for developers to make 3-D games on iOS. The developers of a tech demo app called i3D are looking to change that.

Using your current-generation device’s front-facing camera, along with something called “Head-Coupled Perspective” technology, the developers have found a way to create a 3-D effect without requiring glasses or any other hardware. The way it works is this: it uses your device’s camera to track where your face is, and it adapts the image on the screen accordingly, in real time. So when you tilt the device, you can see whatever’s onscreen from the new angle.

To get a clear idea of the effect, watch the video below, or just download the i3D app. It’s free, and it contains five different tech demos that show various proofs of concept. Unfortunately, none of them are games; they’re just various 3-D objects that you can look at from different perspectives.

In theory, the demos i3D show a realistic 3-D effect. In practice, it’s far from flawless. The biggest issue we had while trying the demos has to do with lighting. Unless the room you’re in is brightly lit, the camera has a hard time tracking your face, destroying the 3-D effect. Another problem is the camera’s limited range. If you tilt the device too far and your face goes offscreen, the 3-D effect stutters and the illusion is lost.

But it’s an interesting idea nonetheless, with loads of potential if they manage to perfect the technology and license it to game developers. It’s a free app, so download it yourself and let us know what you think in the comments section below.