The first episode of Byteside for 2010 was a great look into future trends for the technology industry, but the highlight of the evening for me was when Mark Pesce â€“ one of the pioneers of virtual reality, co-inventor of VRML and regular judge on The New Inventors â€“ told the audience: â€œFor All Of You Who Are Planning To Buy A 3DTV: For Godâ€™s Sake Donâ€™tâ€¦â€
You can watch the relevant section of the show at the 43:50 mark, but really you should be watching the entire thing. And if nothing else, this should give you pause before you splash out thousands on a new TV later this year just because it has 3D.
* Byteside episode is 60min. 54sec. long *
[QUOTE][B]Your brain has about 10 different clues which it uses to detect depth. When youâ€™re in the theatre [watching a 3D movie] youâ€™re only getting one clue â€“ which is parallax.
So what happens is while youâ€™re in the theatre your brain is ignoring all of the other depth cues, throwing the other nine away and just training on the one. This produces a situation which is known technically as â€œbinocular dysphoriaâ€.
Now whatâ€™ll happen is youâ€™ll leave the theatre and your perception â€“ your depth perception â€“ will be screwed up. Itâ€™ll snap back to normal [but] itâ€™ll take different times â€“ because people are on a bell curve, some will snap back immediately, some will snap back in an hour and so on.
Now I want you to imagine what happens when youâ€™re doing that to yourself night after night after night. And, of course, we realised weâ€™d be giving these systems to six year olds whose brains are incredibly plastic, and would actually be training to a new set of visual stimuli.
None of this has been thought through by any of the consumer electronics companies who are intent on giving you 3D. And itâ€™s not a problem if youâ€™re going to see a movie. But if youâ€™re going to be using it night after night in your living room, itâ€™s actually probably quite unhealthy.â€
Pesce knows what heâ€™s talking about. Aside from being an MIT dropout (according to Wikipedia at least), Pesce founded a company back in the early 90s which worked closely with Sega to create a virtual reality headset for the Megadrive. Back in 1994, he wrote about the notion of binocular dysphoria for Wired.[/B]