Digital View-Master

Who could forget the stereoscopic goodness of a View-Master? [Tuttle] put a modern flair on the classic optical device by adding two 1.5″ LCD screens. The screens replace the film disk of the original, showing slightly different images to produce a 3D effect. No word on a camera rig used to take the original images, but for our money this a great way to make something out of those useless key chain picture frames.

27 thoughts on “Digital View-Master

  1. I am keeping an eye on this topic. Not in the exact form but I am hoping someone can hack Myvu such that we can feed different video to left and right eye.

    3D TV needs glasses anyway. Might as well put the TV on the glass.

    If individual LCD can be controlled independently, we just need to decode 3D movie into separate streams and we get poor man’s 3D TV.

  2. That could be used for 3D POrn. What is old is new again as the old Victorian stereoscope is the basis for the toy and those outwardly repressed inwardly randy Victorians used to look at dirty pictures in their ‘scopes.

  3. There is no information on how how the fact that a 1.5″ display is far larger than the original film image is accounted for. Is 80% of the display invisible to the user? Are the optics changed to allow viewing a much larger area?

  4. My first though was the eye piece lenses where taken out, but the blog/forum entry say the LCD screens where lined up with the lenses. I guess we will have to wait for the instructable.

    “Well this little device actually comes pretty damn close to doing stereoscope really well.”, Suggests the the is almost there, but not quite yet. My guess is that a lack of how the pictures where taken, might mean the same picture is displayed on bot displays, not separate left, right images. I’m just making guess due to lack of information.

  5. Taking the images is basically the easy part.

    All you need are two cameras which are placed eye distance apart using something like a custom tripod bracket. You could even get away with using one camera and moving it if you’re careful.

  6. Most stereoscopic 3D content is released as ‘side by side’format – check the youtube 3D demos for examples. This is an excellent idea that if the distances can be calibrated, would suffice for one person to watch a 3D movie.

  7. It’s a cool implementation, what with the lever and everything.

    I made a similiar sort of thing a while back, nowhere as neat. Quite literally just a couple of keychains stuck to the lenses with some duct tape and toilet rolls. Some 3d generated pics loaded into each one individually and each keychain clicked over individually.

    As svofski says, the resolution is the problem. You just get a big coloured grid in front of you. I tried a bit of translucent film to blur out the LCD grid…but just ended up with a big blurry grid in front of me.

    Importantly, because the lens is designed to focus flat on only a small area (the little square of film), the outer fringes of the image get distorted. So not even the whole 128×128 area is usable. The optics in a viewmaster are pretty simple.

    Whats needed is a small LCD or OLED about the film frame size with a high DPI if you want to work with a viewmaster style portable unit. They can be bought but are expensive. Perhaps LCDs from old video tape cameras.

    My suggestion to anyone wanting to try this is to make a bigger Mr Spock science viewer type of thing. Use bigger photoframes with higher resolution and optics to focus on the larger area.

    I had an old baby monitor screen lying around…strangely it was pretty good resolution…but only had one….maybe thats another path to take.


  8. Love it! hacking old school toys with modern day tech :)

    @HackJack, someone has attempted turning some Myvu glasses into 3D ones;
    but one sure way of accomplishing that is to buy two pairs and merge the core components from each into a single pair, with the left & right screens having their own control circuitboards and separate video inputs.

    I recently got some Zeiss Cinemizer LCD glasses which are capable of doing 3D, my main gripe with them is that the optics are crap, which is suprising seeing as they’re made by Carl Zeiss! My Sony Glasstron PLM-A35 and PLM-S700E LCD glasses have superior optics and are much easier on the eyes, but not 3D capable.

    As for the 3D part of the CInemizers it needs a plain video picture which the left half is for the left eye and the right for the right, but finding decent footage (any footage!) is a task in itself, there are some demo clips out there and some field sequential footage but the FS footage doesn’t always work well when converted because of how it was recorded; 1/50 or 1/60 second delay between each ‘eye’ refresh as that’s how you should view it with shutter glasses, so the 3D effect sometimes doesn’t quite work when they’re shown to your eyes at the same time.

    I’m in the process of setting up my own 3D video recording setup to make my own footage using two identical DV camcorders, they have AV input so I can use external identical bullet cameras instead for mounting on bike handlebars or a helmet. Just need to get the 2nd identical camcorder…

  9. @Charles P. Lamb, looking at the photos of the build they cut away a significant amount of the plastic disc that winds on the reel to the next frame, to enlarge the field of view to cope with the larger image being viewed, so I guess it probably works pretty well.

    @rgbphil, if getting hold of small enough high resolution screens to fit into the viewmaster is a problem then this take on DIY stereoscopy is quite nice; Tomytronic 3D –

  10. @high, Aiptek have a 3D HD camcorder out on the market for as little as $200 US, or £200 if you’re in the UK (yeah we get ripped off something rotten), the DDD11X with dual 5mp CMOS cameras that can take high resolution 3D photos and video.
    Unfortunately it suffers from having a rolling shutter which means any action footage looks like it was shot on a jelly-cam.
    One to avoid, which is why I’m doing my own setup using ‘proper’ camcorders.

  11. maybe overlay several low resolution panels at slight offsets with a single polariser on front and back to get a higher resolution?

    also this would potentially generate 3-D directly as the pixels will be slightly out of focus at different depths..

    the “3D Myvu” ought to work if someone was able to sequence the frames from two frame locked cameras into a MC1377, but invert the colours on alternate frames and switch the RGB backlights in time with the frame transitions.

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