iPad 2’s Front Facing Camera Makes Glasses-Free 3D Possible



Thanks to its front-facing camera, the iPad 2 is capable of producing a glasses-free 3D effect using head-tracking technology. Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay from the Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble at the EHCI Research Group have used this technology, along with some really basic applications, to show off what the iPad 2 is capable of when it comes to 3D.

We track the head of the user with the front facing camera in order to create a glasses-free monocular display. Such spatially-aware mobile display enables to improve the possibilities of interaction. It do not use the accelerometers and relies only on the front camera.

The video below demonstrates how the concept works, and I think it’s really impressive. I can’t wait to see how developers might use head tracking to create a 3D gaming experience.


One of the unique selling points about the Nintendo 3DS – which initially gave it an advantage over Apple’s touchscreen devices – is its new glasses-free 3D technology. If a similar effect can be reproduced on the iPad 2, and it works well, Nintendo may be once again wondering how it gets ahead of the iDevices.

[via MacStories]

  • DJChillB

    That is awesome, if that can be put into games it would be immense, did make me feel a bit sick though on my work screen, smae problem as the 3DS and the amount of returns for the same resaon. You can never when with the general public can you.

  • miguel angel expósito

    It’s just not the same as autostereoscopic displays such as the one in the Nintendo 3DS, so no similar effect can be achieved here.

    This does head tracking (which is also extremely nice), which means that it infers the position of your head relative to the device and then calculates the position of the virtual camera accordingly to preserve the perspective. Hence you get the feel of depth by moving your head.

    In (auto)stereoscopic displays this doesn’t happen as they just send a slightly different image to each eye. That reproduces the illusion of image depth and objects “popping” out of the screen.

    I’m wondering under what circumstances (environment, illumination) would this actually work as showed in the video.

  • Pfon71361

    A 3D app for the iPad 2 would be great. I’d pay for it if it really gave you a good 3D effect.

  • roflcoptr

    nintendo did this a year ago.


    the only reason nintendo has to figure out how to “get ahead of idevices” is because apple, in typical apple fashion, stole the idea and is feeding it to their brainwashed followers like it’s something new that they created.

    and you guys eat it up.


  • peteduncanson

    Would be nice if he just gestured a swipe on the screen to get that cube to spin at the end, would be nice to see the effect with some movement. Lovely work.

  • HammyHavoc

    No, we enjoy it because it is actually a nicely done piece of software. The DSi’s head tracking was pretty poor due to the size of it. I know that Nintendo did it a year ago; I am a fan of Nintendo as well.