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3D Displays May Be Hazardous to Young Children

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 42 comments

Could this be a problem with the 3DS?

3D is all the rage right now, with cinemas and home theatre equipment both beefing up with glasses-mandatory viewing. Even gaming on-the-go is heading that way too with Nintendo's upcoming 3DS handheld.

While 3D gives us a neat effect while watching Toy Story 3, taking the kids to see that one over and over again, and eventually when it's on Blu-ray Disc, isn't a good idea at all.

According researchers who have been examining 3D video for years, the exposing children under the age of seven could affect their vision in a bad way. You see, our 3D human vision relies on our two eyes sending an image to our brains, which then makes stereoscopic sense out of it. This gives us depth perception – something that our brains only fully develop by the time we hit six years old.

Some of us aren't able to fully develop stereoscopic vision due to malaise in children called strabismus, sometimes known as lazy eye. This condition is treatable by training the nervous system to 'learn' stereopsis.

More than 15 years ago, Sega was toying with a VR headset that would give the wearer 3D images near the eye; but following a test by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) at Palo Alto California, Sega was warned that the peripheral should not be given to kids – a tough order given that the video game market at the time was catered to a younger audience. The project was ditched, and 3D VR headsets slowly disappeared from the market.

Now that 3D is back, bigger than ever, the risk is even greater for young viewers. Adults are believed to be mostly safe from 3D effects, though most will likely find that they reach a point of fatigue before long anyway.

Read more at Audioholics.

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  • 40 Hide
    ecnovaec , July 9, 2010 1:35 PM
    it makes sense. When I was a kid, kids used to actually play outside and be active. Most of the outdoor sports we played were in fact in 3D, and were quite hazardous. We would end up sore, sweaty, and in good physical shape. Definitely not something today's youth is ready for
  • 20 Hide
    ikefu , July 9, 2010 2:12 PM
    I think the issue would stem from the "tricks" movie makers use to make certain parts of the image jump way out of the screen (more then normal).

    Its not generating a true stereoscopic image as the brain would normally see. If your brain is still learning how to interpret stereoscopic images and it starts seeing unrealistic ones then it will start creating neurological paths for these special instances as if they were real. This could harm your normal visions interpretations.

    So if your brains pathways are already set, it won't bother you. If you're young and still building them then you could risk building ones tuned to movies and not real life.
  • 20 Hide
    insider3 , July 9, 2010 2:05 PM
    Young children should be running around outside anyways.
Other Comments
  • 40 Hide
    ecnovaec , July 9, 2010 1:35 PM
    it makes sense. When I was a kid, kids used to actually play outside and be active. Most of the outdoor sports we played were in fact in 3D, and were quite hazardous. We would end up sore, sweaty, and in good physical shape. Definitely not something today's youth is ready for
  • 19 Hide
    Horhe , July 9, 2010 1:39 PM
    That's why 3D using special glasses is a bad idea. Holograms are the future.
  • 5 Hide
    jazn1337 , July 9, 2010 1:45 PM
    Of course it's got a bad effect, it alters what hits the retina.

    But in the meantime, has everyone forgotten that the 3DS' effect can be turned off?
  • 13 Hide
    jasonpwns , July 9, 2010 1:58 PM
    Yup, so if you don't want your kids playing in 3D just turn the 3d off. Simple as that. Also I remember having one of those 3d headset things lol. It was heavy enough putting it on.
  • -5 Hide
    Zenthar , July 9, 2010 2:00 PM
    I can understand why active shutter glasses might cause harm, but not sure why VR and polarized lenses would.

    With active shutter, you actually prevent an eye from seeing the image it's not meant to see, so it doesn't really use the brain's stereoscopic function "properly". But other technologies send images to both eyes at the same time... is it because it causes the eye to focus on some "fake" focal point?
  • 20 Hide
    insider3 , July 9, 2010 2:05 PM
    Young children should be running around outside anyways.
  • 20 Hide
    ikefu , July 9, 2010 2:12 PM
    I think the issue would stem from the "tricks" movie makers use to make certain parts of the image jump way out of the screen (more then normal).

    Its not generating a true stereoscopic image as the brain would normally see. If your brain is still learning how to interpret stereoscopic images and it starts seeing unrealistic ones then it will start creating neurological paths for these special instances as if they were real. This could harm your normal visions interpretations.

    So if your brains pathways are already set, it won't bother you. If you're young and still building them then you could risk building ones tuned to movies and not real life.
  • 5 Hide
    Pei-chen , July 9, 2010 2:13 PM
    ZentharI can understand why active shutter glasses might cause harm, but not sure why VR and polarized lenses would.With active shutter, you actually prevent an eye from seeing the image it's not meant to see, so it doesn't really use the brain's stereoscopic function "properly". But other technologies send images to both eyes at the same time... is it because it causes the eye to focus on some "fake" focal point?

    With polarized lenses, only 1 eye is seeing at any given time just like shutter glasses. That's why 3D movies has to be twice as bright as regular movies to gave you the effective brightness of regular movie.
  • 3 Hide
    Zenthar , July 9, 2010 2:26 PM
    Pei-chenWith polarized lenses, only 1 eye is seeing at any given time just like shutter glasses. That's why 3D movies has to be twice as bright as regular movies to gave you the effective brightness of regular movie.
    I did some more research about polarization and it seems that even on that front there are 2 distinct technologies: one uses a single projector, the other uses two. I though they all used two projectors where each would have a different polarization (therefore my though that both eyes were getting an image, albeit a different one).
  • 13 Hide
    meat81 , July 9, 2010 3:03 PM
    I would say yes of course, because if my kid touched my expensive 3d TV i would smack him over the head....Hazardous Indeed
  • 1 Hide
    aleh1811 , July 9, 2010 3:23 PM
    Gotta love Milhouse!
  • 6 Hide
    Anomalyx , July 9, 2010 3:30 PM
    I'd think it should be obvious that 3D TV's would be horrible for your eyes. Regular TV's and computer monitors hurt your eyes by giving them a lack of exercise, since they never have to change focus distance while you're staring at it. Now with 3D TV's, add to it the fact that your eyes will be focused on the same distance, but your brain will think it's closer. If developing children are exposed to this enough, their eyes will basically be mis-trained as to how to focus on certain distances. If they always watch the 3D tv at 10 feet away, then when they see something at 5 feet away, their eyes will try to focus closer to the 10 feet that they've been trained to focus at.
  • 4 Hide
    victomofreality , July 9, 2010 3:51 PM
    Makes sense one the human brain takes years after birth to finish developing.
  • 2 Hide
    ender21 , July 9, 2010 4:21 PM
    Scuba Dave's rudeness aside, 3D movies have to be significantly brighter than their 2D counterparts because the polarization attenuates the light hitting your eyes. First at the projector where the active polarization takes place, then at the glasses where the passive takes place.

    It's effectively adding density filters to the image, thereby reducing its overall brightness, requiring significantly brighter lamphouses to compensate.
  • 1 Hide
    Pei-chen , July 9, 2010 5:13 PM
    scuba daveI would really like to know your logic behind that statement. Or better yet, your source of information. Because they need to be hit. Hard. Having one eye see the image at a time has NO effect on brightness. It doesn't "half" the brightness. Vision just doesn't work that way I'm afraid.On a different note.. I can understand how it could be bad for a kid.. if used too much.. but I would be interested in knowing where that line is. I'd like to think that seeing one every ONCE in a while wouldn't be bad.. but I'm certainly no expert.

    Look into RealD Cinema before comment please
  • 3 Hide
    chriskrum , July 9, 2010 5:14 PM
    Several years ago, I worked as a 3D projectionist at an effects company using interlocked projection and polarized lenses (dual projectors). We used a silver screen to increase the brightness of the image--the polarized lenses are a bit like sunglasses, they passively absorbed some light, they also filtered out the light from the image that was meant for the other eye.
  • 1 Hide
    invlem , July 9, 2010 5:26 PM
    scuba daveI would really like to know your logic behind that statement. Or better yet, your source of information. Because they need to be hit. Hard. Having one eye see the image at a time has NO effect on brightness. It doesn't "half" the brightness. Vision just doesn't work that way I'm afraid.On a different note.. I can understand how it could be bad for a kid.. if used too much.. but I would be interested in knowing where that line is. I'd like to think that seeing one every ONCE in a while wouldn't be bad.. but I'm certainly no expert.


    Interesting how you bash the opinion of another without even knowing the facts yourself.

    The cinema 3D technology uses passive glasses, each lens is polarized in opposite directions blocking the light which is polarized in the wrong direction. Thus you end up with only half the actual light getting to your eyes. So yes the source has to be brighter.

    With the nVidia technology the image gets darker because half the time you see the image, the other half of the time you see black when the lcd blocks the light.

    So yes, both 3D technologies DO actually reduce the light getting to you, having a brighter source makes the darkening effect less noticeable. Probably the number one complaint about 3D vision is that you need to bump up your brightness and gamma values to compensate for the loss of brightness in your image...
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 9, 2010 5:56 PM
    ender - maybe "rude" wasnt the word to use in describing scuba boy. Arrogant comes to mind, however.
  • -1 Hide
    ender21 , July 9, 2010 6:01 PM
    LOL. A different "A" word comes to MY mind. He completely obliterates his own credibility.

    Too bad when it comes from people who might otherwise have something useful to offer when they behave so boorishly.
  • -1 Hide
    chriskrum , July 9, 2010 6:02 PM
    @ scuba dave

    1. If you weren't "rude" originally you certainly are now (seriously, appalled vs. rude on a forum post is not a great distinction).

    2. Your first post was incorrect and did misunderstand the technology -- as your focus was on what the eye sees and not on the effect of the various filters between the screen and the eye.

    3. Instead of stepping up and apologizing you've chosen the decidedly immature course of doubling down on your original, wrong statement and engaging in transparent semantics to redefine what you originally said.

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