3D Imaging: A Survey

Scientific Essay, 2014

5 Pages


Abstract —3D Imaging is a upcoming field with tremendous research opportunities and huge economical market. This paper present detailed information about birth of 3D Imaging to the present research. 3D Imaging has a huge market at entertainment level as well as at Industrial level especially in Medical Field. The contribution of various scientists for 3D Imaging is highlighted in this paper. Moreover present research work is also taken into consideration based on depth maps.

Index Terms —Stereoscope, Brewster Stereoscope, Depth based 3D Imaging, 3D Photography, 3DTV.


Day-to-day activities of every person, whether it is driving a car in the street or playing a game of cricket, involve some type of three-dimensional motion tracking. Objects are seen in three-dimensional space and interacted within a varying degree of complexity.

For humans this is a simple task and is performed subconsciously, due to the astonishing nature of the brain. Reproducing this behavior in computers has been a constant challenge to the research community, with mixed successes and failures. Notable achievements include creating animated movies using the motion patterns of human actors, tracking the head movement of pilots in military helicopters and even creating robots capable of catching balls thrown at them. Most of this solutions are based on markers, magnetic techniques and mechanical body kits, and not on the more natural vision based techniques. [22]

The image systems such as photography, film and Televisions are trenchant systems. At present, researchers are making these systems more and more digitalized so as to make them capable to be handled on same platform of pixel based system. These pixel-based systems have increase in number of pixels and are also having rapid development. HDTV and UHDTV are examples of the same. Recent advances include Super high-definition TV which has about 100 times the number of pixels of standard-definition TV. But is has a drawback of only one view. Future demands for more views at cost of even less pixels. This is a transformation of pixel based systems to ray based systems. Pixel-based systems had a single image as compared to ray-based systems with multi-view images. Rapid Progress due to intensive research work in light ray capturing have created huge market for 3DTV. Multi-View Imaging (MVI) will pioneer the ray based image Engineering. [1]

The roots of 3D Imaging were sown almost 170 years before in 1838 by English Scientist Sir Charles Wheatstone. He presented with stereoscope, a device used to view 3D images. Stereoscope is a device, which uses two photographs of the subject object captured from slightly different angles by two different cameras and when viewed together which ensures visual blending of two 2 dimensional images into single three dimensional image giving impression of depth and solidity.

The principle of stereoscope is as follow: Stereoscope requires 2 separate images that are taken from 2 cameras that are separated by a distance of few inches. User has difficulties in viewing when separate images are in absence of stereoscopic viewer. For two images to appear as three images, the user is forced to cross or diverge his or her eyes. Thus different images creates their effect on different eyes and thus user perceives effect of depth in the central image thus giving 3rd dimension to two 2 dimensional images. The images used in stereoscope are called as stereo cards.

A simple stereoscope has a tradeoff with the size of 2 dimensional images. However periscope like device becomes handy to solve this problem. They are called as more complex stereoscope using which user can see larger size images that have more information as compared to smaller ones.

It was in 1854 when world had seen first naval periscope built by Hippolyte Marie-Davy. It consisted of two small mirrors fixed at each end at 45° in a vertical tube. Simon Lake used periscopes in his submarines in 1902.[13] Sir Howard Grubb perfected the device in World War I. [13] A periscope is shown below which uses lens and prisms for focusing objects. Here a means mirror, b means prism and c is observer’s eye.

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Figure 1 Simple Periscope [25]

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Figure 2 Patriotic Stereo Cards [14]

A stereoscope for motion pictures has a mechanical setup described as follows. A drum that is vertically mounted with a wheel and a series of stereographic cards form a moving picture. The cards are controlled by a gate and on application of sufficient force the card bends and passes the gate. This brings the cards into view by obscuring the previous card. These force driven systems were coin-enabled devices which were found till the early 20th century. A hand crank was used to operate this system by viewer. [15]

II. History of stereoscope

It was in 1838 when world first saw the first ever stereoscope made by an English scientist and inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone. He firmly believed that human eyes can perceive depth information i.e. 3rd dimension when two separate images of same object taken from different angles are given to left and right eye. The brain fuses the two images and a solid three-dimensional object is realized.

In 1839 the first practical photography process was invented and so in Wheatstone's stereoscope drawings were used. This stereoscope had the advantage of being size independent for images to be viewed.

David Brewster rival of Sir Charles Wheatstone credited the invention of stereoscope to Mr. Elliot. Mr. Elliot was Mathematics Teacher and according to David Brewster, the idea of stereoscope was presented by him in early 1823. It was in 1839, a year later to Wheatstone’s invention of stereoscope; Mr. Elliot constructed a simple stereoscope without using lens and mirrors. Stereoscope was a wooden box with 18 inches * 7 inches * 4 inches dimension. Transparencies can be viewed easily as photography was yet to be invented in that year.

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Figure 3 Sir Charles Wheatstone Stereoscope [16]

It was in year 1849 when Sir David Brewster came into action and made a better version of stereoscope made by Mr. Elliot. David Brewster used lens for uniting the dissimilar pictures and thus lenticular stereoscope (lens based) was made. This reduced the size and creation of hand-held devices became possible. They were known as Brewster Stereoscopes which was much admired by Queen Victoria during the visit paid to Great Exhibition or World’s Fair of London in 1851.The enthusiasm for three-dimensional photography shown by Queen Victoria soon made stereoscope a popular form of entertainment world-wide.

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Figure 4 Brewster Stereoscope [17]

Brewster stereoscope introduced in London saw 250,000 units sold in a span of just 3 months. After huge success Brewster Stereoscope saw down fall in its demand as more power full stereoscope was introduced by Scientist Holmes in year 1861.

Oliver Wendell Holmes did not patent his invention. The stereoscope invented by him was much economical and easily handled handheld device. This stereoscope housed two prismatic lenses for giving effect of human eyes and a stand made from wood to hold the stereo card. Such economical and easily handled stereoscope was produce for more than a period of century. Holmes belonged to Mexico and hence it is often named as "Mexican stereoscope".

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Figure 5 Holmes Stereoscope [24]


Excerpt out of 5 pages


3D Imaging: A Survey
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3D Imaging, 3D TV, 3D Photography, Stereoscope
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Hardik Modi (Author)Pragnesh Patel (Author), 2014, 3D Imaging: A Survey, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/276045


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