Inventors have been obsessed, and rightfully so, with creating stereoscopic displays that do not require eyewear, or what in the jargon of the field are called “individual selection devices.” I have put some considerable effort into devising variations of this. To avoid humiliation I’m not going to tell you about the wackiest thing I worked on. However, I am going to tell you about the next-wackiest thing and a few that are more sensible.
Those of you who are fans of the anaglyph, like my friend Ray Zone, will immediately recognize the following physiological phenomenon: You’re up late; you’re looking at your anaglyph comic book. Of course you’re close to a bright light; you need a good, bright reading light to look at your anaglyph comic book through those dark red and blue filters. Ray’s published a lot of these comics. So I’m looking at one of his anaglyph comic books, and I’m looking at another one of his anaglyph comic books. In fact, I’ve got many of Ray’s anaglyph comic books. I read one after another. I’ve been wearing the anaglyph glasses now for a long time. I take the anaglyph glasses off, and what do I find? Something that is not entirely unexpected for those of you who are fans of the psychology of perception. What I discover is that the eye that had been looking through the red lens is now seeing the world tinted bluish or greenish, and the other eye that’s been looking through the green lens is seeing the world tinted with its complementary color, red.
Two thoughts occurs to me: Please God, don’t let this be permanent, and now that my eyes are seeing the world with complimentary tints, can I look at this comic book without glasses, and will I see a 3-D image? After all, I’m seeing a reddish world through one eye and a greenish world through the other. Haha! But it occurs to me that if I do this I’m going to see a pseudo-stereoscopic image, because my perception has been, let us say tinted, the complementary colors required for true stereo. Therefore, if I turn the comic book upside down, will I see a stereoscopic image? Do you think this works? Would you like to try it? Let me know how it turns out. Yes, you can try this at home.
And while we’re on the subject, consider this: Could you put red vegetable-color eye drops in one eye and green vegetable-color eye drops in the other eye–eye drops that were safe for ophthalmologic use–and then achieve an anaglyph effect without glasses? Hopefully the eye drops would wear off in time. (Do not try this at home. I’m not kidding.) Certainly the benefit of seeing stereoscopic anaglyphic images without glasses would not outweigh the unfortunate result of having your eyes’ lenses permanently stained. That would be a bad idea; I think we’d all agree.
And then, of course, what about polarizing eye drops?
Finally, another idea–an even better idea. I conceived of this many years ago one night after long hours in the lab. It’s a way to see field-sequential stereoscopic images the same as when you’re wearing CrystalEyes but without eyewear. Here’s the idea: Electrodes are hooked up to your eyelids, and then supplied with the right amount of voltage in synchrony with the video field rate. As the voltage is applied to each eyelid it blinks. When one eye is closed the other is open since it has zero voltage applied to it. There’s a controller hooked up to the video source supplying the current that is then sent alternately to the left and right eye lids. No glasses–only comfortable electrodes. The eyes blink rapidly at video field rate so that you see a field-sequential stereoscopic image completely compatible with Crystal Eyes formatted content, for example.
There are a lot of good ideas. Some make it to the marketplace and some make to this page.