360 degree filming – an opportunity for an immersive 3D experience

On Tuesday at MEX’s winter 2010 event there was some animated discussion about the role of 3D in mobile UX. Some participants believed that 3D has not yet reached its full potential. A detailed write-up of this conversation, which relates to MEX Pathway #4, will be made available soon. In the meantime, here is another type of very immersive 3D experience that was not mentioned (for the best effect, watch this in full screen and use a mouse to control it):

This is not a particularly new technology, Google Streetview, panoramic webcams and security cameras have been using it for ages. In addition to these and Yellowbird’s device, there are a few consumer devices available. According to Yellowbird, their 360 degree online video player has recently been approved for YouTube integration, so 360 degree videos could become more widespread in the future. What I have not seen is a 3D, 360 degree camera (based on 10 minutes Googling, please get in touch if you know otherwise). Imagine watching a movie filmed this way: a bar brawl erupts around you and you look around to see punches swinging, chairs smashing and bottles whistling through the air. Or a nature documentary could capture a stunning underwater panorama. Even without the 3D element it would be awesome! Furthermore, with face detection or movement sensors in the 3D glasses, the viewer could look around by tilting his or her head. Every time you watch the film it would be different!

I have not been blown away by 3D so far on any medium, so maybe this could be an opportunity to unleash its potential. What are your thoughts on this area? Could it be applied in a mobile context? Please comment below or get in touch by email or twitter.

P.S. It was great to meet many of you at the event this week.

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