Gene Dolgoff: 3-D Vision’s Instant 3-D™ Converter is an electronic box that allows you to connect many different types of inputs and several types of outputs. On the input side, you can connect any game system (old or new), satellite, cable, DVR, DVD player, Blu-ray player, VCR, camcorder, computer, or handheld device. The inputs are composite, component, VGA, and HDMI. On the output side, you can connect any TV or projector, including CRT, LCD, plasma, DLP, and laser. Our converter converts any 2-D video input to natural looking deep 3-D. It also converts the TV or projector you are using to view your video on to 3-D itself, which then works with our included RF shutter glasses. This means you don’t have to go out and buy a 3-D TV or projector if you don’t have one. If you do have a 3-D TV, you can use it to watch all of the 3-D content provided by our box. You can also watch 3-D directly on your computer and on your handheld devices with the second pair of 3-D glasses (called FullColor 3D) included with our product.
T-G: Is there any effect on the framerate with 3D output?
Dolgoff: No effect and, most importantly for games, no lag.
T-G: Currently, the prototype is a little bulky. What kind of footprint will the final product have?
Dolgoff: Very bulky. But that’s how lab-bench prototypes start. The product will be smaller than a PS3.
T-G: Let’s talk price. Currently, the unit can be secured through Fundable for as little as $149. Once the project is financed, what will be the price of the peripheral?
Dolgoff: The unit will retail for $299 (MSRP).
T-G: And how much will an additional set of 3-D glasses cost?
Dolgoff: The unit comes with one pair of our RF shutter glasses for TVs and one pair of our FullColor 3D glasses for computers and handheld devices. Additional RF shutter glasses will be $75 (MSRP) and additional FullColor 3D glasses will be $14.95 (MSRP).
T-G: How does the peripheral sense depth from a 2D image, you must be looking for movement between consecutive images, right?
Dolgoff: Yes, our system does look for changes between consecutive frames. In addition, changes in brightness, contrast, sharpness, color saturation, position in the frame, and change in size of objects is also used to provide the brain with 3-D information.
T-G: What is the resolution of the unit?
Dolgoff: The unit makes 1920 x 1080 available to each eye.
T-G: Can you explain how the 3-D Vision figures out what should be in the foreground and background? For example, how does the system determine that say, a moon show loom in the backdrop, instead of being in front on the viewer?
Dolgoff: There is quite a lot of 3-D information available in consecutive frames of 2-D video, as mentioned earlier. Our system provides that information as stereoscopic image pairs to the viewer, containing a mix of accurate 3-D information with estimated 3-D information. We have discovered that the brain fills in the areas of estimated 3-D information with past personal experiences of 3-D to create an overall natural looking complete 3-D view. Distance is determined by weighting brightness, contrast, resolution (sharpness), color saturation, location in the frame, size, and motion speed, all as detected from comparison between frames. This is combined with the brain’s analysis to produce final perceived depth locations.
T-G: From our experience with the autostereoscopic 3DS, we’ve heard users that reported seeing 3D rather easily to some that had difficulty in getting a sensation of depth? What’s been the range of experiences with the 3-D Vision?
Dolgoff: Unlike the 3DS, our system currently requires glasses. Consequently, there is no “sweet spot” (which is difficult to find for many people) required to see the 3-D. Therefore, everyone sees the 3-D with our system.
T-G: Recently the NPD Group stated that 3D television set sales were still a relatively small percentage of total sets, and said that consumer demand wasn’t there yet. (Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/22/future_of_television/) What would you say to these analysts?
Dolgoff: They are absolutely right. This is because of the current Catch-22 surrounding consumer 3-D television. Most consumers are understandably unwilling to spend the money on a new 3-D TV in this economy, especially after recently buying an HDTV, with so little 3-D content available to watch. Content producers are unwilling (and unable) to lay out the large amounts of money needed to produce large volumes of 3-D content because there aren’t enough consumers with 3-D TVs to watch it (and therefore generate sufficient advertising and sales dollars). Our product is designed to break this logjam and speed up the consumer 3-D industry.
T-G: Assuming the 3-D Vision Converter is a success, that’s up next. Take us out five, or ten years.
Dolgoff: We will come out with advanced versions of our system, for instance, incorporating our patent pending electronic and optical compression technology which will double the screen resolution of whatever display you are viewing. We will also be coming out with a new type of pocket 3-D camera system for consumers, that produces consistent, undistorted 3-D without eyestrain for the first time (all existing 3-D camera systems, amateur or professional, produce inconsistent, distorted 3-D that causes eyestrain). We will also be coming out with glasses-free 3-D technology. We will then develop holographic TV.
T-G: You’ve chosen to crowdsource the project via Fundable, yet most tech upstarts have experienced success with Kickstarter. Why Fundable?
Dolgoff: It’s a good place to get our feet wet before diving into the big ocean of full production. I wanted to succeed and knew I had to do it right. I knew that if I went to a different platform, I would not have been successful. At Fundable there’s a friendly bunch of people who know what they’re doing and how to get to a win.
They are very personable, offering extensive personalized support every step of the way- from individually-planned social media strategy to investor presentations. They also have a large investor network which we hope will lead to the kind of investment and synergy that we really need to be successful in the marketplace.
T-G: Now, you’re known for inventing the concept of the Holodeck, which was employed by Gene Roddenberry in Star Trek:TNG. What are the largest hurdles we need to overcome before the deck becomes reality for us?
Dolgoff: The holodeck that will be available to the public will evolve over a long period of time, utilizing a combination of many different technologies. Initially it will use immersive stereoscopic technology (with glasses, and eventually without glasses), which is technologically possible right now. The next step will be multiview 3-D imaging without glasses (just being perfected now), which will be followed by holographic image production (again, without glasses), which is already on the drawing board. Eventually, input to our other senses (smell, touch, and eventually, taste) will become available. In the far, far distant future, matter holograms will become a reality, making the Star Trek holodeck possible in all of its glory.
T-G: Giving the space needed for the sensation of movement, will this ever be feasible for the average American homeowner?
Dolgoff: Yes. The various forms of holodeck technology that I have outlined above (except for the last one) will be able to fit into the American home.