"I cried the first time I held a Nintendo 3DS."
April 30, 2013 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Oh man, as a monocular vision person, I really wish this would work for me, but I seriously doubt it will. I should try though.
posted by mathowie at 8:56 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh man, as a monocular vision person
The 3ds effectively sends different images to each eye, which is how it gets the 3D effect to work. Sorry, it probably won't work for you. :(
posted by yeoz at 9:10 AM on April 30, 2013

In any case, they have systems available for testing at Gamestops and the like. It's worth a shot!
posted by dobi at 9:12 AM on April 30, 2013

I don't have stereoscopic vision, but if I turn the 3D effect all the way up on the 3DS I can see it, a bit faintly. I didn't quite have the same reaction as this guy, though. After a few days the novelty wore off and I always play with it off now.
posted by zixyer at 9:13 AM on April 30, 2013

Yeah, I'm kind of surprised at the reaction. I normally have really bad depth perception due to poor vision in one eye, but I can temporarily fix it with glasses. It's fun because of the novelty, but it comes with a bit of a side of motion sickness or a headache. I could probably get used to it and have it all the time, but then I'd have to have glasses, and I'm not sure how that would work out with the rest of my life (very active + kind of broke).
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:21 AM on April 30, 2013

This is really cool, but I don't get how it works for him. The 3DS sends a different image to each eye. Reality sends a different image to each eye. Why does it work for him in one case but not the other?

He explains in the article that he is slightly cross-eyed, so his focal point is very close to his face. Anything beyond that just appears as double vision, so he tunes out one of the signals.

The 3DS is within his focal range, so he uses both eyes instead of only one.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:23 AM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

George Kokoris is a senior designer at Rare Ltd. He's an ex-cinematographer, a graduate of Full Sail University, and a former member of Microsoft Studios' college hire program. He yells a lot and puts garlic on everything.

As if that's, I don't know, unusual?
posted by axiom at 9:36 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Uh, odinsdream's link is NSFW, btw.
posted by mkb at 9:41 AM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

No, it's not really an issue at all. Stereoscopic vision is just one of the many ways that we have to judge distance. If you don't have it, you just rely on perspective and the relative size of objects.

Actually, I think people who can't see in 3D are naturally a little better at drawing than normal people because they see the world as flat already.
posted by zixyer at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

jcreigh: Does it end up being a big deal in practice? Are there some everyday situations where you are severely inconvenienced by not having stereoscopic vision?

Well, I'm not sure how bad mine is exactly (it's good enough I can pass that part of a driving test, but it isn't easy), but it barely matters. I can't do 3D TV or movies, magic eye pictures don't work (that is the one thing I can't do even with glasses), and I think it reduces my ability to do any kind of ball sport, but that's about it. I might have a little bit harder time parallel parking than most and sometimes I think it might affect my downhill trail running and mountain biking because I think it might take me a little bit longer to analyze the upcoming terrain.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2013

Sorry if I seem to be blinking a lot after reading this story - that's not stereoblindness, I just have something in my eye. *sniff*
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:30 AM on April 30, 2013

I'm glad he didn't settle on a career in proctology.
posted by dr_dank at 10:35 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

My initial reaction was remembering the old nintendo fun club / nintendo power issue that reported it had cured a kids blindness (caution: Seanbaby).

Its cool that this works for him, but the 3d is really the least compelling part of it. I'm surprised, I figured having the focal control on the console would have been what got him able to use it.
posted by lkc at 11:10 AM on April 30, 2013

Oliver Sacks wrote a really nice article about people experiencing stereoscopic vision for the first time in the New Yorker. It looks like the subject of that article has written her own book, Fixing My Gaze.

To be honest, I've always been a little skeptical of Sacks's claims about the transformative experience of stereopsis. He's known to be rather hyperbolic, so I don't really trust him a lot of the time. The brain often has ways to adapt in response to broken input devices; it could have been the case that the experience of depth is "filled in" by other inputs, like contextual cues. This article does raise my credence in what he's saying, though.
posted by painquale at 11:11 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

One neat idea that comes up in the comments is if he'd be able to get depth perception on the Oculus Rift. The answer seems to be that it might work if he can tinker with it to realign the displays or modify the camera positioning in software.
posted by figurant at 11:18 AM on April 30, 2013

You people only see in THREE dimensions?!
posted by fallingbadgers at 12:46 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Mitrovarr, a bit off-topic, but you mentioned glasses would not fit into your lifestyle because of money... you can get them dirt-cheap online now. I'm wearing a pair of $15 glasses, prescription lenses included, that are well over a year old.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:57 PM on April 30, 2013

As a person who is almost blind in one eye, and cannot see in three dimensions, I am really really jealous right now.
posted by inertia at 3:47 PM on April 30, 2013

fallingbadgers, I know, right? His description of being able to see in 3 dimensions as opening a new door, and the frames of reference falling away, escheresque... I knew that experience. But to see more than 3 dimensions is not a visual thing, of course, it's a whole body experience that one FEELS more than SEES. I may have been on drugs, yes. But I can relate to his metaphor.
posted by symbioid at 4:34 PM on April 30, 2013

Hey! I had no idea so many people on this site had no stereo vision either!
So question for you guys.
Can you catch things? I can't, never have been able to no matter how hard I try other than sheer luck.
posted by pravit at 4:52 PM on April 30, 2013

As someone with intermittent strabismus, I can see some 3D in "real life" if I think about it, but I get a much stronger effect from my 3DS and 3D movies. It's pretty cool.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 5:07 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm totally stereoblind (since birth) and would just like to chime in that stereoscopic vision is (in my experience) less important for depth perception than people would have you believe. I played baseball, basketball, soccer, ping pong, etc. all my life and have always been at least halfway decent. The only thing I can't do is track fly balls -- I was definitely a much better infielder than outfielder. Other than that, I drive perfectly well, can juggle, and can catch things that are thrown at me. I'd say the only way that I lacking stereoscopic vision has hurt me is that it turned me off of buying a 3DS (doesn't work for me) and now I'll never have another Professor Layton game to play ...
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 5:08 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pretty much all 3DS games are very playable without the 3D. Despite the neat effect of its 3D being stronger for me than almost any 3D from the real world, I usually play with 3D off because it makes the viewing angles much more forgiving.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 5:09 PM on April 30, 2013

IndigoRain: Mitrovarr, a bit off-topic, but you mentioned glasses would not fit into your lifestyle because of money... you can get them dirt-cheap online now. I'm wearing a pair of $15 glasses, prescription lenses included, that are well over a year old.

Maybe I'll look into it in the near future. I'll need them soon anyway, since the vision in my good eye is getting bad enough to be annoying (getting slightly nearsighted and astigmatic). I've avoided it up to this point because optometrists have told me that if I start wearing glasses, I'll have to wear them all the time (since my brain will stop filtering the vision from that eye out).
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:11 PM on April 30, 2013

Can you catch things? I can't, never have been able to no matter how hard I try other than sheer luck

My boyfriend (who is also stereoblind) and I have a running joke that we are going to start our own softball team of fellow visually impaired folks.

Sometimes I can catch things. I've hit a softball exactly once in my life, and that was sheer luck.
posted by inertia at 7:31 PM on April 30, 2013

He's probably in the wrong generation to have experienced a Viewmaster™.

Although I'm not stereo-blind (hey, I can even do Magic-Eye no problem) I had a sort of epiphany when I looked through my first one.
posted by arzakh at 8:37 PM on April 30, 2013

As someone with severe amblyopia and strabismus since birth, I'd just like to mention that it's great to hear from so many others with stories that sound remarkably like my own.

But yeah, I don't think the 3DS is gonna work for us. I had thought originally that the 3DS used some kind of smart-mapping technology (like those IPhone 3D demos with the targets that move in 3D space as you tilt the device) or perhaps was able to simulate a multiplanar environment (like a lenticular picture)

But nope, seems like its just the same old 3D trickery, with the glasses and screen combined (for all intents and purposes). If you've got fewer than 2 good eyes, 3D ain't happening (yet)
posted by ShutterBun at 8:37 PM on April 30, 2013

The first time I saw in 3d, was when I was in my mid 20s, and saw a 3d dinosaur museum. I had double vision for about an three hours after, but that was nothing compared to the complete sense of "wait... is that how everyone else sees the world?". I then went and hid in my bedroom for three days straight, unable to face the two dimensional world in which I had always lived. I got over that, but did not forget - within a few short minutes, my perception that everyone saw the world in the same way was shattered forever.

A few years later, I saw an IMAX 3d movie (beowulf, I think it was) and thought it was literally the greatest thing I'd ever seen (for those who have not seen beowulf, by the way, it's widely regarded to be a terrible movie - something I have no reason to doubt, but I honestly cannot process it as anything but that new visual stimulation). Since then, I replaced my TV with a 3d projector (surprisingly cheap, $450 from amazon! And 120hz!), and for a while became quite obsessed with 3d documentaries (these are usually shot with 3d cameras, and not up-converted) and computer generated movies (for the same reason). There is this one documentary, I think it's called Reef, and it feels like I could jump straight into my wall - but more than that, it looks like a hyper-reality, the only 3d surface in a world of 2d planes.

Hollywood 3d movies are actually usually not so great, at least for me, for a few reasons - I think, mainly, they are usually designed with a depth field that tries to not offend the senses of people who are more used to seeing in 3D as their everyday experience - especially to deal with headaches and such from the forced perspective, the depth fields in an average hollywood 3d movies are actually deliberatly toned down by reducing the parallax - or worse, up-converted into paper cutouts (this has become a lot more rare as up-convert technology has gotten better!). It's not that I don't enjoy them, but they don't have the same hyper-real sensation that I get from real 3d filmed media.

But then, they don't sometimes cause me to fall into a multi-day well of depression, either. So there's that. But with every euphoric high, I guess there must be a matching low.

But one of the weirdest experiences in my life was borrowing a friend's Optimus3D phone - much like the 3DS, it has an autostereo screen, but also a 1080P 3d camera. My friend had this set up with an app to stream the camera output to my projector, and looking around my own apartment, where I have lived for five years at that point. I was seeing the depth in it for the first time... I actually had to move, about three months later, as I could no longer stand to see it as the 2d world in which I otherwise lived. I would not do that again, but... I think you have to stare into the abyss of normality once, and have the abyss stare back into you.

Forced 3d perspective is a bitch.
posted by jaymzjulian at 4:17 AM on May 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

Actually, I think people who can't see in 3D are naturally a little better at drawing than normal people because they see the world as flat already.

It also turns into interesting conversations with other artists who sneer at using photos for reference because "you miss the appearance of depth." LOOKS THE SAME TO ME.

(Yes, there are plenty of other reasons to draw from life, a blah blah blah)
posted by Dynex at 5:51 PM on May 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

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