May 02, 2011
In the recent past there have been a
number of amazing innovations in the world of 3D entertainment, from
movie theatre technology to what we see at home, to highly developed
games and now televisions.
But researchers are now sounding the
alarms stating that there are clear health risks when using such
Researchers at the University of California Berkeley
have found that
viewing 3D movies with 3D glasses can strain the eyes by changing
the relationship between the eyes and the brain. This can result in
headaches and blurred vision, and it seems that the problem is
particularly troubling for young children.
Those who do experience
these kinds of painful side-affects should limit their 3D viewing,
as long-term results havenít been found.
Below is an example of a 3D Movie trailer on YouTube which is
distorted without 3D glasses but an entirely different experience
with the glasses... but at what cost?
3D Video Anaglyph 3D Movie Trailer
All the big boys - Samsung, Sony, Panasonic - are betting that
people will want to put a 3D capable television in their home.
is it safe?
And he would know:
he started one of the first
virtual reality companies in the early 90′s and worked closely with
Sega to develop a virtual reality headset for their
Only, that headset was never released, as a result of a study done
by SRI that was commissioned by Sega.
Pesce says that the study
found that a significant percentage of users maintained depth
perception issues anywhere from 15 minutes to hours after taking the
headset off. This is why Sega never released it.
Virtual reality headsets use the same technique for displaying 3D as
we find in movies or 3D television sets - parallax. They project a
slightly different image to each one of your eyes, and from that
difference, your brain creates the illusion of depth. That sounds
fine, until you realize just how complicated human depth perception
The Wikipedia entry on
depth perception (an excellent
read) lists ten different cues that your brain uses to figure out
exactly how far away something is.
Parallax is just one of them.
Since the various movie and television display technologies only
offer parallax-based depth cues, your brain basically has to ignore
several other cues while you're immersed in the world of Avatar.
This is why the 3D of films doesn't feel quite right. Basically,
you're fighting with your own brain, which is getting a bit
confused. It's got some cues to give it a sense of depth, but it's
Eventually your brain just starts ignoring the other
That's the problem. When the movie's over, and you take your glasses
off, your brain is still ignoring all those depth perception cues.
It'll come back to normal, eventually. Some people will snap right
back. In others, it might take a few hours. This condition, known as
'binocular dysphoria', is the price you pay for cheating your brain
into believing the illusion of 3D.
Until someone invents some other
form of 3D projection (many have tried, no one has really
succeeded), binocular dysphoria will be part of the experience.
The thing is, ďbinocular dysphoriaĒ does not appear to be a
recognized medical term, even though Pesce has been warning about it
as early as this 1994 Wired article.
Association doesnít recognize it, and the TV manufacturers clearly
arenít concerned because they arenít doing any testing. But just
because it isnít recognized yet doesnít mean itís not a real danger
- especially since 3D TVs are about to enter mainstream
What should be done about the dangers of 3D? Well, the headaches and
dizziness that some viewers experience can be reduced simply by
lessening the amount of time spent using 3D technology, and those
who experience the effects for a long period of time should refrain
from exposing themselves.
No matter, 3-D is here to stay. Experts predict that 3-D television
will be a major trend in about five years.