3D is a phenomenon of visually perceiving three dimensions on a two dimensional plane. It was first developed by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838. The “technology” entailed the overlay of two identical images that are slightly off register, creating the illusion of a third dimension. The effect, called stereopsis, was popularized by the invention of hand-held viewers which took advantage of stereopsis in the early 20th century. The hand held device quickly became a popular in parlors throughout the world. The public marveled at this hi-tech wonder. Those of us who grew up In the 50’s and 60’s recall spending hours gazing through the old Viewmaster. The ubiquitous viewer captured 3D images on a disk that rotated as the viewer clicked to the next image. The device resembled a set of binoculars that viewed pictures of far off lands and popular movie stills, except in true 3D. Many remember viewing the images as the 3D effect brought them to life, creating a true-to-life experience that could never be duplicated on the printed page or TV screen.
Today, experiencing video in 3D is a common experience. The technology has employed the principle of stereopsis in movies with an entirely new 3D experience. Although the technology has evolved, it is still based on the principles established by Wheatstone over 175 years ago.