3D Technology in P12 Education: Cameras, Editing, and Apps

3D Technology in P12 Education: Cameras, Editing, and Apps

Karla Spencer (Morehead State University, USA), Lesia Lennex (Morehead State University, USA) and Emily Bodenlos (Morehead State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2815-1.ch009


3D technology has progressed dramatically. The compelling question driving this research was, “Will 3D technology really benefit students?” After much of the research was completed, both in discovering the various technologies available, and the testing of equipment obtained, some new ideas have come about to answer this question. It has become a tool used by many industries, from television to business. Recently, 3D technology has become increasingly popular in the field of education. New 3D education technology has been developed to assist students with learning. With more 3D technology available than ever before, teachers are able to help their students visualize content in new ways. The history of 3D traces from the mid-1800s to the present movie-based and visually based technologies. The visually based technologies utilizing either DLP enabled projectors and/or 3D computer programs have become the most common of graphically enhanced materials for P-12 schools. Teachers have also begun construction of some of their own 3D materials using either movies or still photos. While the technology is relatively recent, the advances to enable uses in the classroom have brought 3D to a viable place in the schools. This chapter provides a brief history of 3D technology, research of a teacher-friendly 3D camera (Aiptek), and a free 3D construction program, Google SketchUp.
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History Of 3D

Understanding of 3D imaging has been around longer than most would believe. In fact, in 1838 Sir Charles Wheaton invented the first patented stereoscope. The stereoscope was used to view two similar images, which were just slightly different, through lenses that would merge the two together creating an illusion of depth. Wheaton’s creation began at first by using two-dimensional drawings, but he later combined the stereoscope with the recently discovered technology of photography. Wheaton’s invention, although a breakthrough in visualization, was not as well known as the later version created by Oliver Wendell Holmes and Joseph Bates in 1862.


Stereoscopic imagery has since become extremely popular, though many people do not have an understanding of how it works. Stereoscopic technology is “a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image by presenting two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer” (Stereoscopy, 2011). The anaglyph images “are used to provide a stereoscopic 3D effect, when viewed with glasses, where the two lenses are different (usually chromatically opposite) colors, such as red and cyan. Images are made up of two color layers, superimposed, but offset with respect to each other to produce a depth effect” (Anaglyph Image, 2011). Such an idea is accomplished because it applies the understanding of a human’s ability to see. The pupils of a human are approximately two and one half inches apart. Each eye views scenes slightly differently. The brain then merges the two images to create a single image, giving us a sense of depth (Swillens, 2006).

The invention of the stereoscope opened the door that allowed a wide variety of new technologies to emerge, especially those that utilize the third dimension. Movies created for the use of stereoscopic 3D have been seen since 1903, when the technology was utilized in the short film titled L’arrivee du Train. The film, which had a running time of no longer than a minute, depicts a train from an angle so that, especially with the stereoscopic affect, seems as if it is coming out toward the audience. Since many people were unfamiliar with the cinema at all, let alone 3D, they were terrified at the idea of the train coming toward them. In 1922, Power of Love, starring Elliot Sparling and Barbara Bedford, was released becoming the first commercially released film to utilize the anaglyph glasses to view the stereoscopic movie (Deverich, 1999). The movie was a success, and people wanted more of this exciting new imagery.

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