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Does 3D Make Your Head Happy Or Ache? 281

MojoKid writes "Nintendo has quasi-acknowledged that its 3DS can cause headaches and should not be used by children under 7. The glasses-free 3D handheld gaming device launched this week. Meanwhile, new research commissioned by the Blu-ray Disc Association is trying to improve the health image of 3D. Its research shows that the brain is more attentive when watching a 3D movie than when watching HD or SDTV, making the movie a more pleasurable experience. The issue, doctors say, is that 3D works by tricking the brain into making you think you are physically moving in relation to your surroundings. But you aren't. So your inner ear is not experiencing the movement that corresponds to what the eyes are seeing. This doesn't normally happen in real life. No one would deny that 3D is more immersive; that's why people like it, particularly for gaming. But the question is ... does the brain love 3D or not? Answer: not really."
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Does 3D Make Your Head Happy Or Ache?

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  • Re:No one? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Your.Master ( 1088569 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @02:27AM (#35663540)

    If 3D were perfect, then I think no one would deny that 3D had >= the immersiveness of traditional 2D.

    As it is, I certainly think it's less immersive to me in every incarnation I've encountered. It's kind of cool -- but that's not the same thing. The technical limitations and the sheer sense of "unreality" constantly remind me that this is a game, in a way looking at a 2D surface does not. Maybe it's because I've looked at 2D surfaces for many years? Or maybe it's simply because when I close one eye I see 2D everywhere in real life. Or the "sweet spot" issue.

    That said, all of this motion sickness fluff sounds exactly like things people say about truly 2D media. Is 3D just moreso, or is there actually a qualitative difference in the inner-ear confusion between 2D and 3D?

  • by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <> on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @02:28AM (#35663544) Homepage

    Not much else is new. It's happened before the advent of 3D screens. More interesting is the eyestrain issue. It seems less severe when the 3DS is used in the dark, but I wonder if people will adjust to it eventually? Much like how someone has to adjust to their first pair of glasses? I haven't used a 3DS personally yet, but it sounds like a similar sensation people are experiencing..

    *disclaimer: The important part of my post has been marked bold

  • by ethicalcannibal ( 1632871 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @02:55AM (#35663644)
    I have Graves Disease. I get nausea a lot. I have meds that suppress the disease, and the side effects are more nausea. Surprise!

    On a good day, with little amounts of 3D, I'm fine. One a bad day, I can't even watch my Netflix queue on my xbox queue scroll sideways. I hate it when the only version of a movie that is available is in 3D. These days I'll wait until I can find a regular version, or not watch it.

    I won't even attempt the Nintendo 3DS.
  • Re:No one? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @03:01AM (#35663668)
    There are two reasons IMO for why you find 3D less immersive. The first is the current need for 3D glasses, which you're not used to and thus reminds you that you're watching something fake that's not really in 3D. The other is that most (though it's getting better) 3D has been the lame "Oooh, it's coming out of the screen to get you!" type as opposed to the newer ones that simply use 3D to add depth perception and a realistic sense of scale. There was an interview with the head of the 3DS dev team where he talked about this very thing - that the 3DS isn't about making games pop out of the screen, but about allowing a realistic sense of distance and size.
  • by macshit ( 157376 ) <.snogglethorpe. .at.> on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @03:16AM (#35663736) Homepage

    I won't even attempt the Nintendo 3DS.

    Luckily Nintendo did things right, and provide a very convenient way to adjust the amount of 3D effect, or turn it off completely.

    [That's what sucks about the current 3D-movie craze: often the only version of a movie playing in a given location will be the 3D version, meaning those who don't enjoy the 3D effect must suffer an inferior viewing experience (dimmer image, awkward and uncomfortable glasses), and end up paying extra for the privilege!]

  • Bogus neuroscience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SiMac ( 409541 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @03:17AM (#35663746) Homepage

    Even if you watch a movie without 3D, you are "tricking the brain into making you think you are physically moving in relation to your surroundings." There is a large overlap in the neural circuitry that processes motion parallax (the 3D effect that you get when you have a moving camera) and stereopsis (the 3D effect that you get when you have two different images projected onto your two retinas). This is the mechanism behind 3D animated GIFs [], and one of the major depth cues in a 2D movie. Motion parallax is even more intricately linked to the vestibular system, since you need to know whether the image on your retina is changing because your head is moving or because the object you are looking at is in motion. (This is probably part of the reason that an ordinary movie is not an immersive 3D experience.) In contrast, stereopsis does not require motion to work as a depth cue, although all of these depth cues are ultimately integrated.

    The potential for motion parallax without vestibular signals to alter the development of visual areas dedicated to depth perception seems at least as great as the potential for moving stereoscopic images without vestibular signals to alter the development of these areas. No one knew about this when the motion picture was invented, and kids who grew up with a TV are still perfectly capable of making use of vestibular signals.

    Overall, that 3D is somehow "bad for the brain" is highly speculative. You don't get a headache or nausea when viewing 3D movies from very close up because you are damaging your brain. The malaise doesn't even necessarily have to do with the lack of a vestibular signal, and quite possibly doesn't, since you don't get nausea from simulated camera movement without associated head movement even though you have conflicting cues there as well. It can come from the visual system alone. If you are close enough to the screen, you are viewing 3D images with such high disparity that you can't fuse them. The brain interprets this as a sign that there is a problem with your visual system. You might even feel sick to your stomach, since in the environment in which we evolved, this kind of problem with your visual system would most likely have been caused by ingesting some kind of harmful psychotropic substance. There is absolutely no evidence that there is any permanent damage to or alteration of the brain itself.

    If someone can show that there is any change in cortical thickness in the visual areas of children exposed to 3D movies from a very young age, or that these children exhibit significantly different performance in some set of psychophysical paradigms, I might reconsider, but the "evidence" presented in this article is complete bullshit.

  • Motion sickness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AlexiaDeath ( 1616055 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @03:39AM (#35663850)
    I personally cant play any 3D FPS games displayed even on regular 2D screen. I get motion sickness... I cant even imagine how fast I would get sick playing something like this 3DS...

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990