Star Wars could drive 3D

George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, has announced the films will be re-released in 3D versions, starting with episode 1, The Phantom Menace, in 2012. The move may help to spur the adoption of 3D viewing devices, including forthcoming mobile products.

3D has traditionally been confined to the cinema and required the use of special glasses. However, an emerging generation of televisions, handheld gaming consoles and mobile phones offer simulated 3D viewing without wearing glasses. This is achieved by layering two images on a single screen, tricking the eye into seeing a 3D representation.

In addition to viewing 3D video content, the technology may also provide new possibilities for application and interface designers to experiment with 3D services and UIs. This turning point in the market will only be reached once penetration of 3D displays, and corresponding enhancements in 3D input mechanisms, are more widely adopted. It remains unclear whether the new interaction possibilities afforded by 3D interfaces, or a desire to consume 3D content such as games and videos, will be the major driver.

This topic will be examined in more detail, and the potential for 3D user experiences explored, at MEX on 30 Nov – 01 Dec in London. It is 1 of 6 MEX Pathways, entitled: ‘Identify ways 3D can enrich the user experience with visual depth‘.

Sharp and Toshiba are pioneering the display technology, but it is Nintendo – with its forthcoming 3D version of the DS handheld console – which has been seen as one of the biggest potential contributors to market growth. However, Nintendo recently announced it would miss its Q4 2010 target to ship the product, delaying it until 2011 and cutting a third from its profit forecast.

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