Friday, August 30, 2013


Originally published in Stereoscopy News.
Sky-Skan’s educational, 25-minute documentary, “To Space & Back,” which first opened in March to critical and public acclaim at the Fels Planetarium (The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia), will be re-released in September 2013 in a new version that, at 8K resolution, stereoscopic 3D and high frame rate 60 frames per second (60fps), pushes the technical boundaries of digital cinema to an extreme as yet unrivaled by any commercial movie exhibition.
To Space & Back is a joint production of Sky-Skan and The Franklin Institute. To Space & Back was created specifically for digital dome cinema (“fulldome”). The new release will deliver hyper-real, scientific visualizations in acute detail, clarity and depth without picture stutter or motion blur. It will premiere to the industry in 4K/60 fps/stereo 3D on September 5-7, 2013 at the Fulldome Film Festival of Imiloa Astronomy Center (Hawaii), and subsequently to the public in 8K/60 fps/3D at Macao Science Center (Macao is a special administrative region of China, more or less like Hong-Kong).

to-space-and-back 250px

Monday, August 26, 2013

Intel Says "Depth-Sensing" Camera Will Reach Ultrabooks, Laptops in Second Half of 2014

By Agam Shah, IDG News Service
August 26, 2013 12:21 AM ET

IDG News Service - From mundane 2D devices, integrated cameras in laptops and tablets in the future will change into powerful 3D tools that can sense movement, track emotion, and even monitor reading habits of children, according to Intel.

Intel is developing a "depth sensing" camera, which is an enhanced version of a 3D camera that can go deeper inside images to "bridge the gap between the real and virtual world," said Anil Nanduri , director of perceptual products & solutions at Intel.

The webcam enhancements will help the computer understand a human better, bring new levels of interactivity to 3D games, and make webconferencing fun by blanking out the background and adding a green screen, Nanduri said. "You'll add the ability to sense your excitement, emotion -- whether you are happy or smiling. The algorithms and technologies are there, but they are getting more refined, and as they get more robust, you'll see them," Nanduri said.

Such depth cameras will be integrated into laptops and ultrabooks in the second half of 2014. The technology will initially appear in external webcams such as Senz3D external webcam, which was jointly developed by Logitech and Intel, and will become available in the coming quarters. The camera technology will ultimately trickle down to tablets and smartphones, Nanduri said.

The camera will also be able to identify characteristics, contours and shapes of items in view. For example, the camera's ability to sense distance, size, depth, color, contours and other parameters of structures could also help in the growing area of 3D printing. A depth sensing picture of a model can be extracted to reveal exact specifications and other details of a design, which can then be printed. "You are not going to look for a case [for a device] anymore, you'll just point that device, and the cameras will recognize what you have. It'll know the model number...and it'll print [the case] for you, or you go to the store, they will print it for you," Nanduri said.

With the help of eye tracking, it could also track how well somebody is reading and use that information as an evaluation tool. For example, it could track reading, and tell if kids are stuck on words, how much they read, or whether they need help with specific words. "Having the capabilities to say -- they read about 80 percent of the lines, they had difficulty with these words -- that kind of intelligence for educational tools is phenomenal," Nanduri said.

Other small enhancements also include using a motion-sensing game where hands can be followed to pick up objects in the wider dimension of 3D games. The data collected by the camera could be combined with other modalities like voice recognition to improve human-computer interaction.

There are already 3D cameras out there, but Intel is trying to tack on the algorithm and hardware features that make images more meaningful.

"Kinect was a good initial version of a depth camera more from a long range perspective. When Intel started looking at it, we were primarily looking at it primarily as more personal interaction, short range, which is probably a meter or meter-and-a-half range of interaction," Nanduri said.

Integration in the thin ultrabook display panels may be a challenge. Intel is addressing the challenges with a high resolution short-range camera that focuses on a small area, and what Nanduri called "finger-level articulation."

"You need to have a lot more resolution for that zone. To really scale it to volumes, you need to get to the right form factor from the optics perspective, you need to get to the right power levels and you need to have the right cost structure to help scale it into integration," Nanduri said.

When the technology reaches devices, users may progressively forget the keyboard and mouse when interacting with computers.

"When you have depth information, what you can do with it is pretty phenomenal," Nanduri said.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Complete Functional Organs Fabricated Via 3D Printing

3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY may be used to fabricate complete functional organs

A partnership between scientists at the University of Wollongong and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne has led to a breakthrough in tissue engineering, with researchers growing cartilage from stem cells to treat cancers, osteoarthritis and traumatic injury.
In work led by Associate Professor Damian Myers of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne – a node of the UOW-headquartered Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) – scaffolds fabricated on 3D printing equipment were used to grow cartilage over a 28-day period from stem cells that were extracted from tissue under the knee cap.
Professor Myers said this was the first time true cartilage had been grown, as compared to "fibrocartilage", which does not work long-term.
“We are trying to create a tissue environment that can ‘self-repair’ over many years, meaning the repaired site will not deteriorate,” he said.
"It's very exciting work, and we've done the hard yards to show that what we have cultured is what we want for use in surgery for cartilage repair.”
ACES Director Professor Gordon Wallace and his team developed customised fabrication equipment to deliver live cells inside a printed 3D structure. This cutting edge technology was utilised to deliver 3D printed scaffolds on which the cartilage was grown.
“ACES has established a biomedical 3D printing lab at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne in April this year. This has greatly accelerated progress by bringing clinicians and materials scientists face to face on a daily basis,” Professor Wallace said.
This research, which will soon move to pre-clinical trials to demonstrate repair of cartilage, is part of a wider limb regeneration project, involving Professor Wallace, Professor Mark Cook and Professor Peter Choong through the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery. The aim is to eventually use a patient’s own stem cells to grow muscles, fat, bone and tendons.
Professor Wallace and his team are also working to develop custom-made 3D printed human organs.
“By 2025, it is feasible that we will be able to fabricate complete functional organs, tailored for an individual patient,” he said.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Reflections on the Growth of 3D Returns

After a two month hiatus, Reflections on the Growth of 3D is back, examining the latest advances in 3D technology, the current status of the 3D feature film industry, the highly competitive but rapidly consolidating 2D to 3D conversion industry, comparisons and relative advantages of 3D conversion over 'native' filming with camera rigs, the latest information on 4K and how it impacts the 3D industry, the fascinating neuroscience of stereopsis as it applies to 3D movies and much more.

Over the past year and a half, Reflections on the Growth of 3D has earned a regular following of readers in over 20 countries.  I want to express my appreciation for the many emails I received this summer inquiring when new blog posts will be published and most of all, the emails from those of you who have requested posts on specific topics that are generally not covered in other 3D-centric blogs.  With a readership heavily biased within the international entertainment community, I believe the popularity of Reflections on the Growth of 3D demonstrates a sustained interest in the status of 3D as an evolving standard and the future of entertainment both in the home and in the theater. Look for noted guest contributors to this blog in the future.  Your continued feedback is always welcome and very much appreciated at

The following article recently appeared in 3DFocus (

3D movies still bringing in financial awards

cineword logo 475x133 3D movies still bringing in financial awards

Despite lacklustre reception in the home, 3D entertainment is still able to increase ticket revenue at the box office according to Cineworld.

The 80 site cinema chain has reported an almost 25% increase in profit before tax in the first half of the year thanks, in part, to 3D presentation up charging.  Revenues rose to just over £200 million.
Almost a third of the takings were from 3D releases, with the higher ticket fees raising the average admission to £5.39 (a rise of 4.7%).
‘Film studios are becoming increasingly adept in discerning the genre and target audience of 3D films and the quality of 3D product remains critical,’ the company said.
This is positive news for companies who have invested heavily in 3D production equipment and conversion technologies.  Cineworld have also introduced motion seats known as D-BOX which vibrate in time to the on-screen action which in itself carries an additional charge.
Many will conclude that 3D in the home is not feasible (or not ready) but cinemas can still attract people to watch 3D content, and more importantly pay extra for it.
The cinema industry have also pushed 3D presentation for obvious reasons.  ODEON/UCI have even controversially tested the concept of ONLY showing 3D versions of movies in some sites.  Speaking at the 3D Creative Summit earlier this year Drew Kaza, Executive Vice President for Digital Development for Odeon/UCI Cinemas said the results were very positive.
He said: "We are only into the first week of releasing the film but it’s very promising. We hope to move from a 42% incremental increase [in average 3D revenue] to 55%. We are already up to 50% in the first week of the release and most of the second time viewing is in 3D. It’s a sign of things to come into how we approach it.”