The Evolution of 3D Technology

The Evolution of 3D Technology

Depending on the age of the individual who’s asked, different people have different word associations when the term 3D technology is brought up. That’s because long before some of those people were even born, the first seeds of this innovative approach to technology were planted.


The first example came in 1838 with the invention of Stereoscope by Charles Wheatstone, which was an offshoot of the photograph that had only recently been developed. In this case, two differently-angled photos of the same item were shown, which was supposed to emphasize depth.

Advances would be made in 1844 and 1861, with that technology remaining popular for more than a century. The most prominent example that many people remember are the Viewmaster disks, which were viewed in a particular device. In recent years, the technology has been adapted to accommodate such technology as iPhones.

Motion Pictures

Inventor Thomas Edison’s invention of both the Kinetograph and Kinetoscope brought about the creation of motion pictures. In the succeeding years, an animation camera was developed, while the first 3D film, The Power of Love, was shown in 1922. Just 13 years later, a color 3D movie arrived.

However, it wouldn’t be until the 1950’s that 3D films really came into their own, one of the reasons being the growing popularity of television. That popularity soon died out, in part because movie theaters needed to have special accommodations to show such films.

One decade later, Space-Vision 3D arrived and eliminated the previous requirement that 3D movies needed to be made with two cameras. Then, by 1970, Stereovision was technology that focused on the use of a new lens, which was then followed by the IMAX format. In the latter case, previous attempts at broadening the popularity had failed, but this remains a viable technology that’s shown in a special format.

The emergence of high-definition technology allowed movies like Avatar to expand 3D horizons with film, while television also attempted to make inroads within the past decade. In television’s case, the level of interest has been limited.

3D Printers and Virtual Reality

In the business world, 3D printers have become an integral component to any innovation. These printers have been around since the late 1980’s, but only in recent years has the price dropped enough so that they have become affordable. The potential for these has been high enough for some to claim that it could spark another Industrial Revolution.

Currently in their formative stages, other possibilities like Google Glass and virtual reality also exist. With respect to virtual reality, this latest incarnation has largely improved the first attempts tried two decades ago.


Tagged with:

Related Articles