Stereoscopic 3D: A Brief History

3D technology has become commonplace in today’s society with the advancement of 3D movies, 3D gaming and technologies like Oculus, Microsoft HoloLens, zSpace and Magic Leap, but where did 3D imaging originate?

Stereoscopic Origins

In 1838, Sir Charles Wheatstone invented the stereoscope to give depth to images. The stereoscope he created presented two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. These two-dimensional images were then combined by the brain to give the perception of 3D depth.

As seen above, Wheatstone’s original invention was a bit cumbersome, but in 1849 Sir David Brewster invented a lens based stereoscope (pictured right). The lens based instrument made it possible to reduce the size of the stereoscope and a hand-held device was created. The Brewster Stereoscope used prints, which allowed users to view various images in 3D right before their eyes.

3D Imaging Today

With the development of photography and film, 3D imaging was given a wider range of possibilities. The 1950’s saw a boom in 3D movies, but today the movement has blossomed from movies to gaming and even learning.

In today’s digital world, people are constantly engaged with technology. Therefore, it only makes sense to integrate technological interaction into classrooms for students and training sessions.

This is made possible with new devices, such as zSpace’s 3D immersive imaging displays. Using the desktop-style equipment, people are able to interact with simulated objects in virtual environments as if they are real.