3D tech was all over the IFA 2010 conference this year, but perhaps the most unusual example of its usage was over at the Panasonic hall.
Now the actual technology demoed here, whilst impressive, isn’t all that strange; Panasonic were showing off live 3D post-production techniques using their latest Viera 3D panels and professional stereoscopic 3D camera gear.
What was, quite frankly, disturbing however was the set up. A trapeze team were inside the arena, spinning around above our heads whilst being filmed by the 3D film crew. In front of the act were a line of 3D panels, and in front of them again were pole-mounted 3D active shutter glasses. The public could either watch the trapeze act naturally, or by walking over to the glasses and slipping them over their eyes, in essence choosing to watch a live show taking place directly in front of them in real-world 3D through a TV screen instead.
In my ten or so minutes at the stand, not one of the hundreds of passers by spent more than a few seconds watching the trapeze artists with their naked eyes, whilst many happily stood and watched for a few minutes on the 3D screens.
Now you can argue that, at a tech show, people are bound to be more interested in the TVs than a circus act. It’s what they’re there for after all. But the whole set-up just creeped me out a little bit, like a glimpse into some Philip K Dick style future where humanity will only ever see the outside world passively through high-tech TV screens.
Remember folks, real-life comes in three dimensions too.