3DCone is one of the latest add-ons for the iPhone 4/4S promoting the capture of 3D imagery and video. Using a clip-on attachment equipped with a mirror and dedicated app, 3DCone captures and processes stereo pair images ready for uploading to YouTube 3D.
Aimed at 3D enthusiasts, gadget lovers and hobbyists, the 3DCone, which is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, was actually inspired by said crowd-funding site. It was the GoPano micro, an iPhone add-on for panoramic photos and videos, that gave New York-based developer Itamar Roth the idea for doing the same for stereoscopic videos.
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Like all inventive processes, trial and testing led Roth to his design: “The first prototypes looked nothing like the final product. I started experimenting with prisms, but soon came to realize that using prisms will be too bulky, heavy and expensive. I started using mirrors in different formations, finally settling on the simplest solution – using a single mirror."
Once the means of capture had been determined, the next stage was designing a shell that was stylishly functional: “The first 3D printed prototypes looked nothing like the current product – they were rather ugly and big, more aimed at a proof of concept rather than actual usability. After deciding on mirror size and angle, the focus moved to the design and shape. A few options were considered and the cone was finally chosen."
Regardless of the key selling point of offering stereo pair capture in one take, 3DCone faces strong competition from other applications and add-ons looking to achieve the same or similar results. This is a fact Itamar is not only aware of but takes an optimistic view on: “If the campaign will not end successfully I'll have to think about what to do next – even though I love and believe in the product, one of the main reasons for using Kickstarter is of course validating the demand."
Use of portable smart technologies to produce near or completely 3D results will no doubt continue to evolve in order to meet the needs of increasingly elaborate consumer applications. A product like 3DCone, which is reminiscent of Fuji introducing 3D to the point-and-click market in July 2009, is a development that has a market and will likely be incorporated as standard into many phone and tablet devices in the future.
Roth is looking to raise US$55,000 through Kickstarter to get the 3DCone into production. If the project reaches $70,000, he will look to produce an iPhone 5 attachment too.
His Kickstarter video pitch can be viewed below.