Sony shows a personal vision of 3D

Sony's head-mounted 3D system on demo at CES 2011.3D permeated every inch of the Consumer Electronics Show this year – even more so than the two previous years. And while most manufacturers concentrated on showing off the 3D tech that consumers could expect to see at retailers this year, a few were demo’ing future technologies that aren’t quite ready for the market. The most widely anticipated of these was glassless 3D – typically achieved with lenticular screens that produced a focused 3D effect within a very narrow field of view and distance from the screen. Sony had some very good examples of that technology. But more impressive from my point of view was a headset-gadget that Sony doesn’t even have a name for yet – although I’ve found at least one journalist referring to it as the “Headman” (terrible name). It’s white, looks like something out of the movie TRON: Legacy and provides the most convincing 3D I’ve ever seen.

The apparatus contains two OLED displays, which are mounted on adjustable sliders so they can be correctly positioned for the width between your pupils. There are also stereo headphones located in the ear-cup area. Sony was running some 3D loops from PS3 games such as GT5 and it was mesmerizing. Unlike any other 3D display I’ve seen so far, the effect was perfect – I felt as though I was standing at the edge of the racetrack with the cars whipping by just a few feet away.

However given the lacklustre consumer response to other head-mounted viewing systems like Vuzix, I’m not sure that even if Sony launched this product tomorrow it would find a wide audience. The device will appeal mostly to hardcore gamers – those who spend a lot of money building a PC rig that gives them every advantage during online gameplay. I suspect casual gamers and 3D movie fans will avoid it in favour of big-screen systems that let them share the experience with others in the room.

Readers, what do you think – does a highly personalized 3D system like this interest you?



  1. DazedandAmazed

    Not in the least!

    Look around you, perceive perspective lines, ponder whether you eyes will be damaged if you watch 3D TV, demand of yourself the answer to the following question: “If nobody had invented 3D, would my life be less exciting”?

    Above all, ask yourselves this: “Which company did you say it was that wants their hand in my pocket (or better yet on my paycheque before it arrives in my hand) to buy this equpment?

    Remember, since the phonograph was invented, we’ve been visited by wax cylinders, various speed records (16, 33 1/3, 45, 78), 8-track tapes, Beta VCR tapes, VHS VCR tapes, cassette tapes, Videodiscs, CDs, DVDs, and now they are planning to eliminate DVDs. Add to that various radio usages such as: Amateur RAdio (still valuable because its signal gets through when all else fails), VHF Radio, CB Radio, walkie talkies, and phones that you merely have to press the paddle on.

    We have been visited by all manner of tv sets from behemoths to super thin flat screens, not to forget the heyday of rear screen projection etc.

    My point is – all of this stuff, if it were still made, would still work. People used to have actual jobs repairing electronic equipment, so the economy was healthier.

    The sole reason why we keep getting ‘the new improved version’ of everything, is because of the corporations who want to push their latest ‘gadget’, but beware. Just as a whore wants you to return later for more treats, so too does a corporation want yo to buy everything they say. Just try this gadget, they intone, you’ll be so happy – see the parallel? Yeah – just try to get that ‘new gadget’ fixed, only to find out, well, wee’ve got a better model – we’ll upgrade you, sorry for your trouble!

    Talk about the zipless f*ck, that Erica Jong wrote about. Ye Gods, where does it all end.


    • Just_appreciate

      I agree that life would go on just fine with or without 3D – I like your technological evolution there too….But, chicken butt, I have to disagree with the comment about technology advancement hurtin’ the economy, just changed it.

      Just like back in the days when there were no cars invented yet. I can imaging how boring life must have been. Anyway, then cars and then machines were invented (The industrial era) then Life changed and became oily ; cause of all the machines – i know cheap joke. But the economy apparantely boomed. Then fast forward to now (The information age) Life is now changing. cellphones that does rediculous things – video calling on the phones WOW, tv’s that can access the internet – get netflick I highly recommend it, me commenting on your post, it wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t purchased this high tech computer (not really);).. I hope you catch my drift.. just appreciate it. It is an evolution as we speak…Oh man I don’t know what your feel when you start seeing flying cars…lol.


      • JB

        Lol. Then I guess cars of both varieties would have to exist. The government could make the flying car test about 10 times as hard as a normal driving test, minimum. That or if you already have a pilot licence, you could just have a basic test in a simulator(also used for tests for noobies) to make sure you have a handle on how to fly one. And if you cannot pass a test for flying cars, just drive a normal one. Also, there could be a law that if someone gets in an accident, and the victim decides to sue the offender, the person who allowed them to get their driving licence would also be sued. That’ll make those driving instructors make sure only GOOD drivers get their licences! >:D
        But if the government is short sighted enough not to come up with a program like that, then I fear for humanity.


    • Claude Desaulniers

      With thinking like that we would still be going around with a horse and buggy ! With new technoly comes new products. Are you not happy that you have a cell phone or a digital camara ?


      • Canuckle


        I’m feeling that his point, is to point out that old school tech, is neither bad or useless.

        It is a corporate decision to “re-invent”, what is already there, and to create a buzz,( read a consumer base ),for crap we really don’t need.

        I don’t know where you are, but where I live, the phone co., is removing pay phones to a point of almost non-existance.

        So If your cell was offline, or dead, and you needed help in an emergency, what do you do?
        A handy pay phone might help, but they are all gone , because “everbody has a cell”.
        We’ll, I’m part of everybody, and I don’t own a mobile phone.

        Getting rid of analog tv,or old school cameras is not progress either.

        I don’t hate the thinking or inventive process at all, but when it comes to the point of being “forced” to adapt, and not let anythig old stay as part of the “norm”, then it starts to become one sided.

        New and old should be able to co-exist.

        my tv, is 1997 still in great shape , CPU 2007 , VCR not PVR here, No i anything.



    • tybaltcapulet

      A six paragraph response to an article delineating the advancements in 3d technology? You really need a life.

      Ps. No one cares what you think, or what you have to say, so don’t put so much effort into it.


  2. Cmoninterest

    Every gadget these days are created as personal, ie cell,tablet,laptops. I think that most people would rather not sit through a 3d viewing on the home TV while wearing glasses. This new gadget is just another personal gadget intended to feed that appetite. A good name for this invention might be “Mytube”


  3. Thetruth

    Hey Dazed and amazed just don’t buy the damn gadgets, Most ppl love the new tech. If someone were to buy this Sony 3-D goggle thing, then its their money right. If you are scared of the future, or mad you can’t or won’t create something that will be our future. Cause i couldn’t make those goggle’s, could you, NO you can’t. So all i’m saying, is if they are creating something for different groups of ppl, and stuff that cost’s money to make, they can damn well charge the buyer, cause the buyer wants to buy it


  4. J

    I work in a remote location in northern Canada and having a larger tv that I can pack in my backpack with a PS3 or Xbox would be great! I’m always hoping these portable units get better and better. so far they haven’t. I was really looking forward to the 27″ OLED TV because I could fit it into a protective case and remain within my weight limit for the airplane up to site. The size was perfect for my tiny room in camp. I’m hoping headgear type tv’s really meet customers expectations so they can produce a good quality unit that isn’t $$$$$ if they bother to produce one at all for the market place.


  5. VR-Envy

    I have no interest in 3D TVs or any of the technology people were pushing at CES, but this I want. Combine this with some already available free IR head tracking software you basically have a home VR system!

    I’ve looked at the Vuzix and other HMD (Head Mounted Display) devices for a while but they all fall short. Either the resolution is too low (you really need at least 720p these days, with a high refresh rate) or the price is way too high ($300-$500 would be a realistic range – after all it’s just a toy so it should be priced accordingly). It will also need a very high refresh rate. Also you need to be able to test drive one and until they get wider availability that’s not going to be possible (although perhaps Sony’s retail muscle could help).

    For any big computer game fans, especially those who like their flight-sims, this would still probably be cheaper than a 3 monitor set up on your PC.

    And for those who will say you’ll look stupid wearing one of these – you don’t exactly look suave and sophisticated playing your video games or watching TV now either (or hunched over your keyboard at you PC). If people are willing to accept the expensive active glasses for home 3D, the full headset isn’t a much bigger stretch.


  6. African Mango

    I think it’s definitely a great idea, the only problem is that I don’t see this sort of thing lasting until it’s converted into some thing where multiple users can use it at the same time or connect their own individual visors to have a group experience. Remember, this is only TV too, by the time video games catch up to speed we’ll have even more fun!


  7. technerd

    does no one else think this looks like a lightsabre dildo wraped around her head? have fun in the matrix dudes….


  8. pj

    I WANT IT NOW!!! Not for movies viewing but for VR! First person role playn’ games should be awesome!
    But the first thing to do is to use it with, for example, an aiming device like Playstation Move (more accurate than wii controller) because one of the worst thing in older VR headset was the fixed crossfire in the middle of the screen… so you have to haim with your head at the target. With a floating aiming device the experience should be great!
    And for the many who think that there wouldn’t be enougth people who will buy this headset, i say that a 720p visor becomes to be a great deal for gamers! And dont forget that the game market has ever been the driving force for selling even more powerful computers. Gamers rules! ;)
    And we finally want it!
    ….an for watching blu-ray movies, as every other human being on the earth, “we” want a very-big-flat-tv-sceen at home! =D
    Enjoy everyone!


  9. dave

    Those glasses remind me of the old black Viewmaster, (remember all those ’50’s travelogue picture sets-and the rotary film that you flipped from frame to frame with a lever?) except moving and (presumably) wide screen. As one living by myself, and with limited space, I think ‘wearable” 3D is a great idea- and just like early walkman, I’m sure they’ll develop a way for more than one headset to be powered from the same signal source. Depends on price too, I suppose- but surely, it has to be cheaper than the monster screens and special powered glasses of current systems


  10. Pat

    I have 3D all around me – it’s called “sight”. Also known as “reality”. You don’t need goggles or a special TV to see it.


    • Robotica Sam I am Green Eggs & Ham My Man

      I think Pat hit it right on the money, reality is in 3D all the time. Sure, 3D TVs would be great, but all this hub-bub about 3D reminds me of the 70s and 80s where it was this gimicky thing to make something seem much better than it actually was. So, here we are again in 2011 and everyone is slapping 3D onto their junk to make it sound better. “Sandwich, now in 3D!!”

      Oh, yeah, and is no one concerned what wearing this and having an OLED screen so close to your eyes will do? I mean, I’m stitting pretty close to my laptop right now, and I’ve only been on it about an hour or so, and my eyes are pretty sore. And, when I look away, I still have after-image burned on my retinas – a silhouette of the screen is now overlayed over everything I look at for the next 5 minutes or so. I can only imagin what several hours of viewing this thing would do. I’m sure it will carry some warning, but we all know some foolish moron will wear it all day or something and sue AND WIN(!) because it’s Sony’s fault that he burned his eyes out. ;p

      On the other hand, I would still like to watch a movie in 3D with this tech or something similer. Also, some video games would be pretty awesome with it too.


    • Michael T. Babcock

      Let me get this straight. This “real life” thing is so great you don’t read books, watch movies, listen to recorded music, or do anything else that isn’t immediate and “real”?

      You don’t use cameras or mp3 players, you don’t play video games, you don’t enjoy media in any form or talk on a phone either?

      Media is media, and for those of us who consume it (which is the vast majority of the planet), making options to allow it to be more realistic is a good thing. People who don’t understand this need to get off their high horses and realize what they’re saying.


  11. don

    That is just awesome. Another device so people can spend more time letting their asses get bigger.

    I hardly ever watch tv. I get enough reality in my daily life and the commercials, well, they drive me nuts.


  12. Dan

    What about us people that have vision problems? ie. I only have 10-20% vision in my right eye. 3D has no effect on me …I put on the red-green glasses all I see is red or green…..


    • Claude Desaulniers

      Sorry to hear that you only have 20% vision in your right eye. But for the rest of us this could be pretty cool. People in weelchairs dont complain about running shoe comercials.


  13. Juanito

    This is great!!! Amazing!! Wow! All the suckers with their wallets open ready to throw money at the latest and the greatest are FINALLY going to find a satisfying and fulfilling life. YAAAaaayy!! Hooray! One more exciting new product to distract us from our mundane, pathetic little lives for just one more moment. I’m already on the phone with my bank as I type this to take out another line of credit to purchase this item!

    …You know, I’m all for technological advancement, but isn’t it time where perhaps we should focus on the important things in life? We have all of this amazing technology and yet people only seem to be getting stupider (and I ain’t no exception). If you want to see the world in 3D, why not just get off the damn couch?


    • JB

      Ok, you people seem to have a hard time concieving this. 3D glasses aren’t meant to see the WORLD, it’s meant for watching what ISN’T real, i.e TV or video Games. Yes, I understand that this would be a very expensive product, but that’s why you WAIT a few years for new stuff to come out(i.e. better versions of the product), and then see if it becomes mainstream enough that it becomes affordable. And I am quite sure they would work out some way to make it so you can see what it going on around you when you do things so you don’t walk off you balcony or something when it goes wireless, as it is destined to do. I think there would be some button or knob so you can switch between the headset and the real world. I find a knob would be best so you can kind of go half and half when you are playing videogames that require movement. I personally cant wait until they invent a way to make a holographic room similar to Star Trek, fun for the whole family!

      P.S. for all those who arguement that it look dumb: That’s you opinion, but IMO, and possibly other people’s opinion, it looks kinda cool!

      P.P.S. I don’t know how you people can hate technology so badly in the time period we live in. Did you all fail high school because you were technologically illiterate or something? Or did a computer eat your parents? Companies exist, they make money off of us and the government makes money by taking a small piece of that bussiness. That’s the real world, deal with it.


  14. edvz

    Anyone familiar with old stereo viewers like ViewMaster knows
    why 3D works better as a headset than a standard screen does.

    The headset shuts out every other object in the room, so the
    3D looks convincing, and doesn’t have to compete with anything.

    On a standard screen, the image perspective conflicts with the perspective of the room, so that every close object looks like
    its coming out of the screen. Nifty, but phony looking, and just
    plain tedious after awhile.

    The only slight problem with TV headsets is always having
    take them off and put them on again when you go to the fridge.
    Oh well, at least you can change channels without anyone getting
    on your case.


  15. Johnny V

    I think this is a cool concept, but I always find these sort headsets problematic because I can’t get over the loss of peripheral vision. moreover the weight of such a headset could be a problem. The real test would be to wear this for a solid two hours(a feature length film) to see if your neck hurts afterward.


  16. Bear

    Really tybaltcapulet?? By saying “no one cares what you think or what you have to say” means you speak for every one of us hear on planet earth, and on the space station. I don’t remember ever giving you permission to speak on my behalf. How is it possible you speak for everyone? Also by responding to his comment, means you really do care what he thinks or what he has to say, what are you 12 years old? Don’t go speaking for everyone if you have nothing positive to say. If you keep your negative opinions to your self and pie hole shut, and you just might learn something one day


  17. Pingback: Tweets that mention Sony's 3D "Headman" a very personal 3D experience | Sync™ Blog --
  18. jan

    How can one judge the commercial feasibility of a new prototype based on the adoption of what we have on the market right now? All consumer market hmd’s currently available are crap. The only things you can learn from those is what consumers do not want: low resolution that resembles monitors and tvs from 10 years ago. mudded colors. narrow field of views.

    Thats what is available today.

    hmd’s promise is to have an immersive experience. To have a movie experiense similar to that in a cinema or even imax. to get you into a game. None of the available devices does that. I would not even take any of those for free.

    give me a hmd with at least 720p and at least 45 degrees field of view and i will consider spending significant money on it.
    Build a hmd with 1080p resolution or greater and 60 degree fov and it will be a hit even at 3 grand.