3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Quick Test for Vision Acuity for Better Stereoscopic 3D Viewing

January 21st, 2013 · 1 Comment · Other S3D Tech

I’ve already talked multiple times about how vision issues can lead to bad experience when viewing stereoscopic 3D content, but still a lot of people believe that their vision is good enough and it is certainly not causing them any problems, and instead the stereo 3D content is bad or the technology is not good enough. And while the case may be that you are watching some bad quality 2D to 3D conversion, or using bad quality S3D viewing technology, even the viewing conditions may not be good enough and so on resulting in a bad experience, you could also have some issues with your vision as well. Have in mind that having trouble when watching stereo 3D content can be a hint that you need to go to a specialist to examine your eyes as you might just need to get a glasses (or new ones if you are already wearing prescription glasses), but sometimes there could be a more serious issue that needs extra attention. Having a normal vision (normal visual acuity), often referred to as 20/20 vision or 6/6 vision is good sign that your eyes are Ok and if you are experiencing trouble when watching stereoscopic 3D content, then the issue might be in something else. You need to be sure that the problem is not within your eyes as good eye health and proper vision is important in our everyday life and not only for watching stereo 3D content. Having vision problems such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism or presbyopia can also cause issues with having good experience when watching stereoscopic 3D content, so if you suffer from any of those you will need to wear the proper prescription glasses or lenses in order to correct them and have normal vision restored.

How do you know if you need to go see a specialist and have your eyes examined? I’ve already mentioned that having trouble when watching stereoscopic 3D content such as experiencing headache, dizziness, disorientation or nausea while watching or after watching something in stereo 3D is a good sign that you might need to go see a specialist. But you can use another simple test that can help you give you an idea on what is your vision acuity at home and see if you need to go to a specialist and have your vision examined. All you need is a printer and a friend to help you take a test of your vision by using a version of the popular Snellen eye chart, variation of which is often used by eye care professionals to check patient’s vision. You need to download and print the eye chart from the link below (A4 size version and Letter version available), make sure you use the actual size when printing and don’t resize to fit. Then hang it on a wall in a well lit room (including the chart) with a friend staying next to the chart to help you take the test, measure 10 feet (or 3 meters) from the chart and stand there. Normally the distance is 20 feet or 6 meters with larger chart, but since you may have trouble finding the needed space the charts have been resized for taking the test at half that distance. To take the test you need to first cover one of your eyes with the palm of your hand and try to read aloud all the letters you see line by line the best you can, and the person helping you checks if you have read them correctly marking where and how many mistakes you make (if you make any). Then you change the eyes and repeat the procedure again with the person helping you noting where you make mistakes, if you make any, so that you can compare the results from both eyes as they may have different level of vision acuity.

And now comes the time to check the results. If you are able to read without making any mistakes all of the letters top to the bottom of the chart with both eyes, this means that you have what is considered to be normal vision (maybe even better than that), so you have no reason to worry. If you are having trouble reading without a mistake not only the bottom line, but the 2-3 of the ones above it, then you probably have a near-normal vision which normally should not cause you problems, but it is still a good to check your eyes. The suggestion to go see a specialist is even more important if you have a difference of two or three lines from the chart that you have no trouble reading with one of your eyes and the other. If you are having trouble properly reading even higher lines in the chart or the difference between what you can read with your left eye is even bigger than with your right eye you must go and see a specialist to have your vision examined. If you are already wearing contact lenses or prescription glasses you might want to do the test with and without wearing them to see what will be the results. This way the test may also give you an idea if you need to increase or decrease the diopter you currently have in case your vision has improved or became worse than the last time you’ve had it examined.

Have in mind that this simple way to check your vision is just to give you a basic idea on how good it is and is intended more to give you a hint if you need to go and see a specialist and have your eyes examined. It is not intended to replace a proper eye examination by a specialist, it might just point out the need for doing such an exam! Have in mind that the above test is not intended to directly check for potential problems of your stereoscopic vision, it is for checking the vision acuity. I do hope that you find this useful…

To download the test Snellen eye chart for printing on A4 size paper…
To download the test Snellen eye chart for printing on Letter size paper…

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Nvidia Tegra 4, Project SHIELD and Stereoscopic 3D Gaming

January 7th, 2013 · 9 Comments · General 3D News

You may have noticed that Nvidia has been quiet on the stereoscopic 3D gaming front for a while lately and that was a sign that either they are preparing something new and big or they are busy with other things. And now we just learned that unfortunately it is not the first, but the second thing. Nvidia has just revealed their new Tegra 4 mobile processor – a quad core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU coupled with a 72 custom GPU cores second-generation battery saver core and improved battery saving features to ensure not only faster performance, but also maximum energy efficiency and longer usage time on a single battery charge. Of course Tegra 4 builds on op of the performance of its predecessor Tegra 3, though while still a quad-core chip it should be faster, but the real improvement is the significantly improved in terms of performance GeForce GPU that should offer up to six times the GPU horsepower of Tegra 3 according to Nvidia. And with all this extra GPU power one would think that Nvidia is finally going to focus on mobile gaming with stereoscopic 3D support more, unfortunately stereo 3D support is not even mentioned yet in any of the already released information about the new Tegra 4. Instead the focus moves to the use of the improved processing power for features such as Computational Photography Architecture (real-time HDR photography) or 4K ultra-high-def video support, along with LTE capability with optional Icera i500 chipset.

If you remember Tegra 3 did support stereoscopic 3D output in some Tegra optimized games via an external 3D-capable TV set using HDMI 1.4 output, but not all Tegra 3-powered devices did come with that feature available. Tegra 3 did not have official support for integrated stereoscopic 3D-capable displays, the much talked WikiPad gaming tablet based on Tegra 3 that was supposed to have a stereoscopic 3D display turned out as a disappointment, as the stereo 3D display was dropped from the features of the final product and we are still yet to see something come out on the market. And one would think that Nvidia, a company that is one of the major drivers of stereoscopic 3D gaming, would continue to further improve their mobile products to make them not only faster performance wise, but also better feature wise. So you can say that quite a few stereoscopic 3D gamers were hoping to finally see Tegra 4 with support for integrated stereoscopic 3D displays along with much wider support for stereoscopic 3D games on external 3D-capable display devices using HDMI 1.4. Now that the chip has significantly improved GPU performance it should be easily capable of utilizing that for converting 3D games into stereoscopic 3D ones just like 3D Vision does on the PC. And while the announcement of Tegra 4 did not even mention stereo 3D support, this does not mean that the chip will not have it, it only means that such a features are not a priority at the moment and while they still might be present, their announcement could come at a later time when more specifications of the new mobile Tegra 4 chip become available.

Along with Tegra 4 Nvidia has also announced a new interesting mobile gaming device based on that chip, it is called Project SHIELD. This device reminds a lot a console controller, but is actually a complete portable Android-based gaming console in a form factor very similar in size to a controller. Project SHIELD is based around Tegra 4 processor, comes with a a flip-out 5-inch 720p multi-touch retinal display with faster response (yes RETINAL, not Retina as in Apple’s devices, though the meaning behind that is pretty much the same), full sized gaming controller and supposedly will provide a really good stereo sound for a portable device. The batteries in the device should be capable of 5-10 hours of gameplay or if you’re watching video up to 24 hours of playback time from a single charge and this definitely sounds good for a portable mobile device. Nvidia’s Project SHIELD uses Android as its operating system, allowing you to play the games that are already available on Google Play, but it will also support streaming online gaming from your PC at home. This means that your computer at home will act like a gaming server that will stream the games you own onto the Project SHIELD where you’ll be able to play them just like if you are sitting in front of your computer, or almost just like. The limit is 720p resolution as your computer will be streaming video to the device, though you will be using the Project SHIELD to control the game, and you can connect it to a bigger monitor or a TV set through the available HDMI port to have a larger screen you can play on, but probably still be limited at up to 720p. Project SHIELD is the first announced device based around Tegra 4 and while there is still no price announced, it is expected to ship sometime in Q2 of 2013 first in the US and Canada, with a worldwide rollout to follow.

Unfortunately as with the Tegra 4 announcement not a single word about stereoscopic 3D support regarding the Project SHIELD. The display of the device won’t be 3D-capable for sure, but the hope that remains is if the HDMI output will support 1.4 and if the device will be able to convert 3D games in stereo 3D (using profiles) as some Tegra 3-based tablets can. Apparently we’ll have to wait some more for additional specifications and features to be announced, but even at this point Project SHIELD does seem as an interesting mobile gaming product already, even if it does not come with stereo 3D support at all. And Project SHIELD will for sure turn out to be a competition to other similar upcoming mobile gaming products that are also expected to be launched this year such as the WikiPad or the OUYA, though these will come out with the older Tegra 3 platform. One thing that makes Project SHIELD a better choice than OUYA for example is the fact that the device comes with both a touch-screen and a joypad controls and so you will be able to play pretty much all already available games and will not have to wait for specially developed ones or made compatible to be played with joypad as still most games for Android are meant to be played from a touch-screen. Of course there are some apps that allow you to map commands to a joypad, but doing so without a touch-screen could be a problem. Though with the design of Project SHIELD and the position of its display it will probably not be the best device to play only with the touchscreen, at least you’d be able to map the game commands to the joypad controls. On the other hand the most significant advantage that the OUYA will probably have is the lower price as I highly doubt that Nvidia will be able to sell Project SHIELD for $99 USD, we can expect Nvidia’s Tegra 4 console to sell for something more like $299 USD. And as we know the lower price can really make a difference in helping a product become mainstream and widely accepted, and now if OUYA could also support stereo 3D (since it is based on Tegra 3 it could, but will it?).

But enough with Tegra 4 and Project SHIELD, maybe now it is time for Nvidia to start turning a bit more attention back to the 3D vision gamers, so that in 2013 we could see more happening in the stereo 3D gaming PC scene as well, and not only hope for something to happen in the mobile segment where apparently there is more to be desired in terms of stereo 3D support…

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Have A Wonderful New Year 2013 and Many Good 3D Expreiences

January 1st, 2013 · 6 Comments · General 3D News

The world did not end this time either, we’ve moved past December 21st and have entered in the new 2013. I wish you a year of happiness and success, and don’t forget to aim high in 2013 too. And since 3D is here to stay with us this year as well, I’d also want to wish you a lot of pleasant stereo 3D experiences…

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