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Head Tracking Allows Glasses Free 3D on iPad


MacStories points to an interesting use of the iPad's front facing camera to provide a convincing 3D effect on the iPad. Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay from the Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble put together this demo video showing how user tracking can be used:

We track the head of the user with the front facing camera in order to create a glasses-free monocular 3D display. Such spatially-aware mobile display enables to improve the possibilities of interaction. It does not use the accelerometers and relies only on the front camera.

Francone and Nigay were inspired by the work of Johnny Lee who built a similar system using a Wii system. The app does not yet appear to be available for download. We had previously reported that Apple was also exploring this type of 3d "hyper reality" displays for the Mac desktop based on a patent application published in 2009.

The user could then move their head left and right to look around a 3D object as shown in the example image above. Apple also suggests that it could also be applied to 2D objects like windows to provide some added depth to traditionally flat objects.

As with all patent applications, we don't know if Apple will ever deliver these technologies to market, but 3D has become a trendy topic once again, so there's been a lot of renewed interest in this field.

Related roundup: iPad Air