I’m really interested in stereoscopy, which you might have guessed, if you’ve ever seen me running around with my View-Master camera. In my opinion, View-Master is still a superior method for viewing stereoscopic images, but it’s only still images. That’s why I wanted to see if I could improve the design and make an interactive View-Master for animations.

This little hybrid between Mickey Mouse and Steve Mann enables you to control and view stereoscopic animations that are animated in real-time.

It’s an old View-Master viewer modified to have ChromaDepth lenses, some custom buttons, accelerometer, bluetooth radio and an Arduino to control it all. I thought about hiding the electronics with bigger ears, but decided not to, because I like the ghetto-cyborg look he’s got going on there.

So how does it work? You look through the viewer to the screen where you will see some 3-layer Månsteri-action in all of it’s stereoscopic glory. The great thing about ChromaDepth stereoscopy is that it works with basic colors. You don’t need two channels for the video to achieve a 3D-effect. On a dark background, everything that is blue will appear to be in the background and everything that is red will appear to be in the foreground. Colors in the spectrum between blue and red will appear to be somewhere in the middle. If you didn’t understand my explanation, look it up on the interwebs.

The accelerometer detects your motion and will move the character on the middle layer, giving the illusion that the character is trying to mimic your movement. You can control the content of the layers with the three buttons on the side of the viewer. Button three controls the background, button two the middle layer and button one controls the foreground. Check out the video and you’ll understand what I mean. If you have ChromaDepth glasses, put them on to see the 3d effect.

The Arduino sends the sensor data and the button states wirelessly via bluetooth to my computer. The information is parsed in Max/MSP, which in turn sends the data as OSC packets to Animata (my favourite software at the moment). Animata then animates everything in real-time and handles the hiding/revealing of different layers.

If you are interested, I have uploaded the Arduino and Max 5 source codes and also the Animata scene. It’s all very specific to my setup, but someone might find it useful. Download the source.