Takara Tomy 3D Shot Cam brings 3D photography to kids

Tomy 3D Shot CamThe big buzz of 2010 is almost certainly surrounding 3D: 3D games consoles, 3D TVs, and 3D cameras – heck, even 3D laptops – have dominated the headlines all year. But a technology hasn’t become mainstream until it starts targeting the younger generation: so, enter the Takara Tomy 3D Shot Cam.

Designed to bring the joys of stereoscopic 3D shooting to kids, the 3D Shot Cam – previewed over on Ubergizmo – is a low-resolution digital camera with a difference: it features a pair of lenses at either side of the body. Take a shot, and two images are captured, each shifted slightly from the other along the horizontal axis. The result: 3D images.
Well, sort of.
Unlike the professional-level cameras – which, it has to be said, cost significantly more than this particular toy – the images aren’t 3D until they’re printed out and inserted into special cardboard viewers. Even then, they rely on the old-fashioned ‘relax your eyes’ method that stereoscopic photographers have been using since the Victorian era.
It isn’t yet known what format the images are captured in: in theory, if the pictures are saved as two separate JPEG files, it should be possible to run them through third-party software and use them with other 3D viewing methods – including, if you have the hardware, a glasses-based 3D TV. If the 3D Shot Cam uses proprietary formats for saving to the included SD card, however, you’re stuck with the old-fashioned method.

Despite these restrictions, it’s an effect which is likely to entrance children – and, in all honest, adults – although the 0.3 megapixel sensors used to capture the images along with the fixed-focus pinhole lenses mean that high-definition isn’t on the cards, and you can forget about low-light photography – although a small block in the center of the camera does appear to suggest the presence of an on-board flash.

When viewed as what it is – a kid-friendly digital camera with a difference – it’s an impressive piece of kit, and at an expected launch price of $70 it’s a cheap way to get involved in the growing world of home-made 3D images and video.
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