3D camera smartphones haven’t had much success in the past, but maybe a gadget that turns regular smartphones into 3D cameras will be better received by people.
According to Heuristic Labs, the manufacturer of this gadget, LazeeEye is a portmanteau for laser and eye, no matter how much it sounds like a visual disorder. I’d like to think that the company could have picked a better name that doesn’t make people think of health problems. Regardless, it’s the purpose that LazeeEye serves more than its name that interests us. The gadget attaches to 3.5mm jack of iPhones or Android smartphones and with the help of a laser source, a mirror and a spatial modulating element, the phone is able to use a depth estimation algorithm in order to make stereo images.
To achieve this, the add-on module also comes with a stereo vision app that puts the computing hardware of the smartphone to use in order to create 3D images. Heuristic Labs compared its pencil-sized gadget to the likes of Microsoft Kinect and Google Project Tango, probably hoping that the world won’t realize that all of these devices serve different purposes, despite relying on 3D imaging. Project Tango smartphones and tablets, for example, will be used for indoor mapping, something that could make the life of visually impaired people a lot easier. Try doing that with 3D pictures!
The wiggle GIF effect that LazeeEye uses can indeed create the sensation of motion, but at the same time, it could make people sick, provided that they look at such a “3D image” for a bit longer than 2 seconds. The concept is definitely interesting, but I think it should have been advertised in a different manner, and maybe that way it would have been more successful.
Below is a video of the LazeeEye that the company shot just prior to launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Unfortunately, the goal of $250K was not met when the campaign ended this weekend (only $232K were pledged by backers). Given how close they were to getting their project funded, I’m firmly convinced that Heuristic Labs will try again, either on Kickstarter or on some other platform, as this wouldn’t be the first time a company takes a second shot at crowdfunding and being unsuccessful the first time.
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