updated 07:20 pm EDT, Fri July 22, 2011
Study funded by Samsung
Research partially funded by Samsung has found that 3D video causes more eye strain and fatigue than content displayed in 2D. Participants in the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley and published in Journal of Vision, were asked to gauge eye fatigue, pain in the back or neck, and vision clarity.
The researchers displayed 3D and 2D video from several viewing distances, while the 3D content was presented with different focal points and vergence distances. Changing the vergence distances effectively placed the 3D effect in front of or behind the screen.
Videos displayed in 3D generally led to more eye strain, fatigue, and less clarity, however the research showed higher levels of discomfort when distant screens displayed 3D images with vergence points behind the screen. Users also reported more problems when closer screens display 3D imagery with vergence points in front of the screen.
Some companies have pushed for changes to 3D recording, though the focus has been aimed at improving the entertainment experience rather than reducing eye strain and fatigue. Avatar director James Cameron has criticized current techniques, arguing the industry must adopt higher frame rates to enhance 3D movies.
Nintendo late last year issued a warning on its website, noting the potential dangers for children using the 3D mode on the company's 3DS handheld. Children under six were cautioned against using 3D, as the artificial presentation, which presents varying depth on a static focal plane, may be detrimental to vision development.
The relationship between viewing distance and vergence points presents yet another challenge for the industry, as films designed to reduce strain in theaters may cause more fatigue when the title is viewed from a TV in a home. [via Ars Technica]