The History of 3D Glasses

3D technology continues to fascinate many people due to its ability to bring flat images to life. It allows your imagination to run free by creating images that look real. Whether it’s viewing images on a comic book or watching a 3D movie on IMAX, there’s something fascinating about this technology.

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But what’s the history behind three-dimension images?

Discovery of the Stereoscope

This amazing technology was pioneered by Charles Wheatstone in the year 1838. Charles applied the stereopsis, a principle that defines the ability to perceive depth. The aim was to use lenses to merge two distinct images into one, which would result in a 3D scene.

Charles discovered that viewing two similar objects side-by-side produces the impression of three-dimensionality. The images are taken using two slightly separated cameras to mimic what each human eye would see. This encouraged him to create the first ever3D viewing device known as the stereoscope.

The first stereoscope was a major breakthrough in three-dimensional technology. This device looked like a flat board with a series of mirrors and lenses popping from it. Although this was a cumbersome machine, it was an interesting discovery that was about to revolutionize viewing and artificial imagery.

Discovery of the Lenticular Stereoscope

As mentioned above, the biggest challenge about Charles Wheatstone’s stereoscope is that it was too cumbersome. The first person to improve this technology was Sir David Brewster. Brewster streamlined Wheatstone’s stereoscope to come up with the world’s first-ever portable 3D device.

This new device was given the name “lenticular stereoscope”. The improvements made by Brewster involved removing the mirrors and using lenses that made viewing easier. 

The First 3D Film

After Brewster’s improvements, 3D technology started gaining more popularity in the early 20th century. This led to the production and release of the first 3D film known as “The Power of Love” in 1922. This is the same time when red-and-green anaglyphic glasses, which are used to date, were first used to view a film.

Polarized Lenses

The technology used in the 1920s offered a limited palette. This would ignite the interest of Edwin Land to try to improve this problem. He invented the polarized lenses in 1936, which made it possible to incorporate full color in films. This was soon embraced by the American movie industry. Full-color 3D films were later introduced in Hollywood in the 1950s.

3D movies became a new trend that is a great marvel to date. The glasses were stored in plastic frames or comfortable cardboards to protect the lenses. They would then be sanitized for reuse in another film.

Although 3D anaglyphic glasses have seen various improvements over the years, they still apply the same concept discovered by Charles Wheatstone. New developments have seen this concept not only apply in movie theaters but also in home televisions.

3D Milestones Over the Years

Three-dimensional technology has seen significant improvements since its discovery. Below is a summary of some of the biggest milestones.

1838: Charles Wheatstone discovers the first stereoscope

This device provided three-dimensional viewing for still images but was not possible to use in film production.

The 1920s: 3D is integrated into film production

Three-dimension technology was integrated into the film industry to produce the first-ever 3D film. This created a marvel to people and became a great deal in the 1930s.

1936: Introduction of polarized lenses

Edwin Land comes up with polarized lenses to incorporate full-color imagery.

The 1950s: 3D arrives in Hollywood in full color

The movie, “Bwana Devil” was released using Edwin Land’s full-color technology. This created a new craze in the movie industry.

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