By Jordan Gardner and Andy Ruffett
If you ever happen to walk into Spatial View’s Front Street headquarters be prepared to feel the same excitement Augustus Gloop felt when he entered Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The feeling begins near the front entrance.
A 46 inch flat panel TV projects a slideshow, showcasing the truly seductive capabilities of Spatial View’s multiple viewer display — a device which offers 3D visuals to the naked eye from any angle. Resting atop a table on the opposite side of the room is a notebook projecting the video game Half-Life 2: Deathmatch in 3D. The already impressive visuals are taken to a new level by its induction to the third-dimension.
“It’s the way we’re meant to see, we’ve been watching things on a flat screens but that’s not how you see things in real life,” says Ryerson computer engineering grad and Spatial View engineer Roger Dass.
In addition to the multiple-viewer displays, the company also offers single- user displays equipped with an eyetracking system that records changes in a user’s body position.
“Normally with [more common 3D] devices there is a precise sweet spot that the user must find. With our technology, the camera tracks the user’s eyes and brings the sweet spot to them. This gives them freedom to move around a bit and be a more comfortable,” explains Dass.
These single-user displays at first appear in 2D and black and white, but transform into majestic 3D once properly aligned with the user’s eyes.
Best of all, this can be experienced without having to sport those dorky glasses. It’s all thanks to Spatial View’s twist on the original concept of 3D, Stereoscopy — showing each eye a slightly different image to generate the illusion of depth. However instead of glasses, transparent filters are slid onto video screens, which enable the same effect as 3D glasses.
At the moment the company aims to work with Apple, a company known for its innovation. To that end Spatial View has developed the Wazabee 3DeeShell, which enables 3D for the iPhone. Coupled with the 3DeeShell it has also developed various iPhone applications including a 3D Camera app and a 3D Flickr management tool app. Spatial View is also about to release a 3D mobile Facebook application.
Spatial View is also doing a research internship with Professor Dimitri Androutsos of Ryerson’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Androutsos is working on a project that will enable users to take 3D photos on an iPhone, which can be readily displayed via Spatial View’s 3DeeShell.
Dass also says that Spatial View has developed a software driver that will enable users to play PC games like Call of Duty 4, World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike and several more in autostereoscopic 3D — 3D without the need of glasses.
Although the company’s current focus is on rendering 3D on mobile platforms, media-based applications aren’t the only market it’s exploring.
“Putting things in 3D gives you a better understanding,” says Dass. “Say you were to do an MRI: It’s a lot to depict from a 2D photo, but in 3D it’s a lot easier to see in depth. Doctors are already using 3D, but we’re trying to make it more available and more cost effective on a laptop than on big expensive machines.”