Ross Slutsky | Atlanta GA
“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” – William Gibson
There I was, going about my business, watching a video on YouTube. As I often do, I set the video to 1080p, one of YouTube’s highest definition standards, when I noticed something interesting:
See that magical word next to the gear thingy?
That’s right. A certain subcategory of YouTube videos is now available in 3D.
The most interesting thing is that 3D video on YouTube is nothing new – it’s just not widely known about. In April of last year, Youtube took 3D video out of beta testing and incorporated it directly into the video player.
The best part is, you do not need to own 3D glasses to make it work:
If you set YouTube 3D to “no glasses” mode, you can witness videos in 3D without external aid. Here’s how it works:
See the white dots above each screen? If you cross your eyes so that a third white dot appears in between the two dots, a third screen will appear in the center that will display the video in 3D. This stereoscopic visual effect can seem a bit daunting at first, but if you work on it for five minutes or so, you should get the hang of it, and with further practice, you will develop muscle memory for it that will make doing this much easier.
What are the broader implications of this?
We know that Google has been working on augmented reality glasses for a few years now, with Project Glass set to hit stores in 2014.
(If the video embedded above does not display properly in your browser, you can see it here)
While the iterations of Project Glass that we’ve seen so far do not appear to be optimized for 3D viewing, Project Glass may only be a preliminary foray into visual augmented reality devices. As The Verge reported in April, one of the engineers on the Project Glass team has worked on developing pixelated contact lenses. In other words, Google may be hoping to develop sophisticated display systems that include 3D functionality at a later time.
Given that Google owns Youtube, they might have encouraged the deployment of sophisticated 3D capacities in the hopes that as Google or other companies develop 3D display systems, Youtube users would experiment with 3D film production and populate Youtube with 3D content so that there will be a wealth of consumable user generated content when the 3D display technologies have matured.
If we take an optimistic outlook about this, 3D YouTube is a new frontier. David might have already visited the dentist and Charlie’s already bitten a finger, but the world is yet to see a 3D YouTube viral sensation.
Maybe it will be you.