nVidia, Fujifilm and others push 3D

German new technology show CeBIT seems to have turned into 3DBIT, with companies falling over each other to push the 3D concept, and an entire area of the show's floor devoted to 3D in all its forms.

nVidia was getting the most attention for its 3D Vision Surround dedicated 3D gaming setup. The setup includes a pair of high-power graphics cards, three monitors arranged around the player, a special transmitter and a set of glasses, and proved to be mind-blowingly realistic. The game doesn't need to be specially 3D-enabled, and the monitors only need to be 120Hz.

3D Vision Surround's constituent parts have been released before, but it's new as a bundled system. It's expected to be available around the end of March, and should cost somewhere in the region of €3,000. Serious gamers only need apply.

Fujifilm, too, has been making the most of the 3D craze, pushing a number of already-launched but excellent 3D products. The Fujifilm Real 3D W1 has two apertures, two lenses and two CCDs, enabling it to take 3D shots which can be displayed on a 3D-enabled display or, if you use special glasses and a transmitter, on a standard monitor.

However, these products have been on the market since autumn. The Fujifilm Real 3D W1 costs €499. But, like nVidia's offering, they have to be seen to be believed.

There were newer developments in the world of 3D. A prototype development called SeeFront, for instance, is still at the pre-development stage - the team behind the technology are still looking for companies to build it into their products, although they report considerable interest.

And no wonder. SeeFront is a brilliant and simple concept, using a webcam and face recognition technology to work out where the viewer is (it's a single-user concept) and tailoring the imagery for their location. The viewer is therefore able to enjoy superb 3D imagery despite moving around and without wearing special glasses.

The makers of SeeFront see a future in the design, engineering and medical fields, but gaming and entertainment applications are also feasible.

VisuMotion was showing off a prototype of its own: a screen overlay and software drivers that convert existing games into 3D. Ultimately, the company hopes that laptops will be sold with the screen technology and software built in, and estimate that this will add approximately €100 to the cost.

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