Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Viewing Excellence in All Dimensions: No Rose-Colored Glasses Required


By Barry Hochfelder

Any of us who grew up in the '50s, probably owned a View-Master®. Remember? You had this plastic binocular-like gizmo, inserted a paper card with seven images on it and, voila, 3D! View-Master®, which was introduced at the 1939 New York World's Fair, came about when an organ maker named William Gruber strapped two cameras together in an effort to update the stereoscope images that were popular in the 19th century by producing three-dimensional color slides and a handheld viewer.

The idea was that, while the View-Master® reel holds 14 film slides, there are really only seven stereoscopic images—two film slides are viewed simultaneously, one for each eye, simulating binocular depth perception.

View-Master®, while often educational, is in the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. Stereoscopic images, however, are no laughing matter. They're becoming more and more of a significant tool in healthcare. Today its uses include lung cancer screening, mammography, minimally invasive surgery and diabetic retinopathy. You can read more about it in our Display and Visualization Supplement that begins on page 25. I find it fascinating that the idea goes back more than a century. In the 1880s, scientists at the University of Edinburgh actually created stereo 3D anatomic photographs, which still are available in A Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy.

Also in that section is a piece on how 3D visualization has become a key to increased success and efficiency in oil and gas exploration. One of the major challenges that had to be solved was the shear amount of data involved. On the medical side, for example, a large data set is a gigabyte or so. In oil and gas surveys, you can be sifting through a terabyte or more trying to find just the right spot to drill.

The 21 nominees for our first Readers' Choice Awards, broken down by categories—cameras, illumination, optics, sensors, processing and software—are on pages 36-39. Please review them—and the voting instructions—and send us your choice. The awards will be presented during a ceremony at Vision 2007 in Stuttgart this November. You can read more about the nominees on our website, The information will remain on the site until October 31, and votes will be accepted through that date.

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