Turn your iPhone into a View-Master

This super quick hack will be fun to do with the kids. Remember the days of View-Masters? You’d put a disk of small slides into a little plastic viewer and a stereoscopic image would jump out at you in 3D! Now you can not only view stereoscopic images on your smartphone, but make your own too!

To shoot the images just hold your phone in portrait orientation and take a snapshot of your subject, then move the camera six inches to the right and take a second image. The two pics need to be displayed on the screen at the same time and for this [Plarky] uses a free iPhone app called Pic Stitch. We’re sure you can find an Android equivalent in no time if you do a bit of searching.

To view the stereoscope it helps to make a divider out of cardboard like the one seen above. You’ll need to cross your eyes and focus on a point to bring the two images together. We don’t remember having to do this with the View-Master so we’re hoping someone will take the idea and improve upon it. We’ve already seen a digital View-Master.┬áNow we want to see those dual screens replaced with an iPhone cradle.

27 thoughts on “Turn your iPhone into a View-Master

  1. If i remember rightthere was once a book with 2 images, one is mirrored, and you put a mirror inbetween these 2 images, and look/focus at the picture behind the mirror. You get the same 3d effect without needing to cross your eyes.

  2. Clearly the person in the picture is not crossing his eyes to see the image, as there is a cardboard divider in place.
    The effect you get from cross-eyed stereograms is also possible to get with your eyes focused in parallel — like the Viewmaster. No crossing needed, but harder to get the effect if you can see both images with either eye. Hence, the divider.

  3. The reason why you have to cross yours eyes when using an Iphone is that the center of the images are closer than the distance of your eyeballs. Hence you have to cross your eyes to get the images to appear at the same distance apart

  4. As Regulus said above, this is a trainer for “parallel” viewing, not “cross-eyed” viewing. In theory, with practice, the user will be able to ween themselves from needing the cardboard thingy to see the stereo effect. If you’ve already mastered viewing those “magic eye” stereograms that were the rage years ago (and featured on a Seinfeld episode), you probably don’t need the trainer.

    Some people never get the hang of it (I’m married to such a person), and parallel stereo pairs that are above a certain size are difficult for everyone to view. For those situations, I designed this 3D printable viewer a few years ago:

    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2965

    1. I can’t get hang of those pictures too. Somewhere I read that wearing glasses makes it impossible to see this 3d effect, but in contact lenses I still can’t see the effect.

      1. nope, I could see them both with my glasses and contacts.Took me a long time before I got it. Stumbled across a coffee table book that basically started from the simplest and then into harder images. Now I have no problem. I often get the same effect by accident while looking at a 16 ch sound mixer board. I just relax my eyes, and the channels will start to overlap.

  5. I looked into getting viewmaster discs made once. $50.00 each is utterly insane for a chunk of cardboard with pieces of transparency in between them.

  6. “Hey dude, wanna look try my cardboard and iPhone steroscopic viewer?”, pokes out one eye, “No thanks, I don’t have stereoscopic vision.”

  7. I cut up a flat rate shipping box to do this a while back, what it works great for and little kids love it is those 3d sbs movies you might have. works great.

    1. Bit of a hassle and pricey for people to buy a new smartphone, might be cheaper to get a piece of cardboard and some plastic :)

  8. I can recommend 3DSteroid!

    Android: 3DSteroid
    iPhone: i3DSteroid

    It helps you align 3D L-R photos and then stitch them and view them in a variety of ways.

    I’ve used this guy’s programs for working with 3D photo composition ( from my hacked 3D chdk/StereoDataMaker rig ). He’s got a large collection of stuff for 3D ( for windows but most work well enough under Linux Wine ).

    http://stereo.jpn.org/eng/index.html

  9. there is no need to cross anyone’s eyes. side-by-side stereography has been around for probably more than 50 years. if you go to the Eastman house (as in Eastman Kodak) you can find antique versions of a very simple device that does this.

    there is a divider in the antique viewer if i recall correctly, but it doesn’t take any visual tricks to get the effect. when i looked through it, i saw the effect immediately – and my experience predated those magic eye posters by about a decade.

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