May 16 2011

Classrooms Come Alive with 3D Technology

A wave of new products is poised to sharpen the learning experience on campus.

A wave of new products is poised to sharpen the learning experience on campus.

Products with 3D features such as camcorders, projectors, flat screens and digital cameras are making their way into colleges and universities, which use the technology to enhance learning in visual and innovative ways.

3D is a step toward delivering a more immersive learning environment, in much the same way that viewing an IMAX 3D film in a theater is more immersive than watching the same movie at home on a 17-inch TV.

Brad Shimmin, principal analyst at research firm Current Analysis, says 3D tools offer a view into the real world that students haven't been able to visualize before. For example, in a classroom setting, a science instructor can show students a 3D rendering of the solar system to more easily explain the relationships between the planets, moons and other bodies, and illustrate visually how they move relative to one another from different perspectives.

The Product Rundown

Sony offers at least three new categories of products that can capture 3D content as well as 3D panoramic images, including a multitude of Handycam camcorders, Bloggie cameras and Cyber-shot digital still cameras.

The new Handycam HDR-TD10 camcorder from Sony shoots "Double Full HD" 3D video, and is the first of its type on the consumer camcorder market. Its dual recording system records 3D content in 1920x1080 Full HD resolution. The content can be viewed with 3D active glasses on 3D-capable HDTVs or in Full HD 2D on non-3D displays. Sony's new Bloggie MHS-FS3 compact video camera captures 3D content for uploading or sharing on the web. Users can view 3D images without glasses on the Bloggie's built-in LCD.

Sony Cyber-shot cameras are one of the first compact digital cameras to offer 3D Still Image mode for taking 3D images using only one lens and imager. The DSC-TX100V includes full HD video (1920x1080/60p). This format offers the least distortion for playback on HDTV.

ViewSonic's line of 3D projectors includes the PJD7382, which has an extreme-short-throw ratio that produces an 81-inch image at a distance of 39 inches. Its short-throw lens saves space by allowing an instructor to place it at the front of a table and still display large, crisp images, according to ViewSonic. It has 3,000 lumens, a 3000:1 contrast ratio and weighs 7.7 pounds.

The ViewSonic PJD7583wi is a short-throw DLP widescreen projector with BrilliantColor technology that produces more vibrant colors than projectors without 3D capabilities. The PJD7583wi has 3,000 lumens with 1280x800 WXGA native resolution. The short-throw lens allows it to project a 95-inch image from a little over 3 feet away, and built-in interactivity lets a user turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard.

NEC has a line of 3D projectors that include the NP115, NP216, U300X and the U310W. The compact and lightweight NP115 has 2,500 lumens and a DLP engine. The NP UX300X projector has an ultra-short-throw lens (0.377:1 throw ratio) that can be mounted to the wall above the screen.

Acer's line of 3D projectors includes the X1161P, which has a native resolution of 800x600 and contrast ratio of 4000:1. The Acer X1261-3D has a native resolution of 1024x768 and contrast ratio of 3700:1. Both have a maximum resolution of 1600x1200, a maximum wide resolution of 1080p, 23-inch screens and require users to wear 3D glasses to view content.

NEC U300X Short-Throw Projector
Short take: Comes with three-year warranty

Sony 3D Bloggie MHS-FS3 (camcorder)
Short take: Captures HD 3D and 2D images

Sony Handycam HDR-TD10 (camcorder)
Short take: Offers true 1920x1080 3D video

ViewSonic PJD7382 Projector
Short take: 1024x768 max resolution

Acer X1161P Projector
Short take: Up to 5,000-hour lamp life

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX100V (digital camera)
Short take: Features 3.5-inch touch screen


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