Friday New Tools Feature: A New Dimension in Media

Staying with last week's theme of futuristic stuff that's happening right now (no, not inexpensive space tourism), there were a number of major advances in the world of 3-dimensional media this week.

First up, we have crowd-sourced 3D modeling technology. It basically uses a lot of computing power to stitch together thousands or millions of tourpist photos to create detailed 3D views of particular locations. To get an idea of how this will work, check out this model made with Photosynth using Flickr photos. 

Eventually, you'll see things like this in photorealistic detail. CT2 predicts that "Eventually, every city in the world will get a full textured 3D view of itself."

If seeing a 3D model on a 2D screen doesn't do it for you, you'll be happy to know that Sky has just introduced a 3D channel, which will be available in 2010. The system will require a 3D-ready TV, and you'll have to wear polarized glasses similar to those currently used for 3D movies to get the desired effect. Still, the main takeaway is that movies and sporting events will be making their way to home systems within the year. And that's a big deal. I mean, maybe if we can get soccer in HD 3D, Americans will finally get it.

Finally, if you hate those 3D glasses but want your 3D, don't despair. Fujifilm just released a demo of one of the coolest gadgets I've seen in a while, the Finepix Real 3D W1, which is set to drop around Christmas-time. The camera takes 3D pictures which pop out of the viewscreen on the back, no glasses required. The guys at Stuff got their hands on one, and were blown away by it:

I’ve just handled the future. I feel like Rod Taylor from The Time Machine, except my means of time travel is a Barbara Windsor-like Fujifilm representative, rather than a silly brass chair with a parasol twirling pathetically out of its behind.

...the amazing bit, the bit that you’ll want to show all your friends, is that you can see the photos popping out of the rear LCD in proper 3D, without any need to wear stupid glasses. That is the wonder of a lenticular screen.

You can then get those 3D pictures on lenticular print paper (which will run you about $5 each at this point), or put them on Fuji's 8" digital 3D picture frame.

None of this really has direct applications to politics at this point in time (that I can think of). But know that 3D home entertainment, news, sports, photographs, and games are coming now, and they're going to be the next big thing.