By Stephen Schenck | May 11, 2012 7:20 PM
3D-enabled smartphones came, they saw, and then soundly failed to conquer. We might not have seen the last of them yet, but they’re clearly not about to overtake phones with 2D screens anytime soon. While 3D might have been a swing-and-a-miss on smartphones, 3D-capable televisions continue to grab up sales. That has the potential for creating a bit of a content imbalance, where plenty of people have the ability to view 3D content at home, but without 3D cameras on smartphones, have reduced opportunities to create new 3D content themselves. Fujitsu may have just the solution, having come up with a little gadget that effectively converts a standard smartphone camera to a 3D version.
The design behind Fujitsu’s 3D adaptor is quite simple, but that’s part of its charm. The tiny device uses a series of mirrors to split the field of vision of your phone’s camera in two, creating the same sort of stereo separation that’s accomplished by a pair of image sensors in proper 3D cameras. While that lets a normal 2D camera capture all the data needed to create a 3D image, the technique requires a good deal of image processing to extract full-frame pictures from the compressed, distorted output of Fujitsu’s device, and then combine the pair to form a finished, 3D picture, ready to be viewed on an external 3D display.
At 57 x 14 x 14 mm, the adaptor is still a little bulky, at least compared to smartphones themselves, and might not be something you’d carry around all the time. Still, it looks like it will be very cheap to manufacture, which could go a long way towards spurring adoption.
Fujitsu reportedly plans to demonstrate the technology in detail during June’s International Symposium on Consumer Electronics.