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February 22, 2010

3DTV could cause headaches

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by Rapid TV News

Website: Rapid TV News

By the end of this year 3D in the home will be reality for some viewers. But there could be major problems ahead, if one new study is correct.

Their work is summed up in one word: headaches.

A San Francisco university professor of optometry says that the film and TV industry is doing a great deal of work behind the scenes to make sure that the 3D experience is not just as good as possible but that it does as little harm as possible.

The high risk, suggests Professor Martin Banks, is that viewers will get eye strain, and fatigue, because the brain is working hard to keep up with the on-screen action.

“Viewing distance matters a lot,” Banks said. “The farther away you are, the better your eyes can adjust. It could be a problem in television unless the producers pay attention. And something like a cell-phone could be quite problematic.”

It is already acknowledged that many viewers will simply not be able to ‘see’ 3D because of eye problems. Scientists at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco have worked with researchers at UCSF and other universities to help them develop more realistic, and more comfortable, 3D technology.

“It used to be people would see a 3D movie and go, ‘Cool, 3D,’ but after 20 minutes it became uncomfortable,” said Guido Voltolina, senior director for business development and image technology at Dolby, talking to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. “We want your brain to focus on the story, not try to work for the image.”

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