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