True-View Turns Your Smartphone Into a 3D Camera

In the early ’90s, the closest we got to 3D vision was the Fisher-Price View-Master. The new True-View reminds us of that trusty old Fisher-Price toy — but instead of switching out slides, this device transforms your smartphone into a 3D photo and video camera.

After turning on the True-View app and inserting your smartphone into the device’s slot, you can take a picture or video in 3D and view it later in 3D, too. The device creates 3D images by splitting frames into two side-by-side images — one on the left and one on the right — and a series of mirrors reflect and merge the images into a single 3D image. This process is called “stereoscopic 3D imaging.”

You can shoot your own original content in 3D, or even use True-View to watch 3D clips and movies on YouTube, which has supported 3D capability since 2009.

Currently, True-View is still in the prototyping phase, and is waiting on funding from its Kickstarter campaign to move forward in production. The initial app was exclusively designed for the iPhone 5, but the development team has now adjusted the app to be compatible with iOS and Android phones. However, it needs more funding to officially manufacture this new app, which will be free to download.

A team of designers at London-based startup The Prately Company has been working on the True-View and its accompanying smartphone app over the past year. Peter Brennan, lead designer and founder of The Prately Company, was inspired to develop True-View after his grandfather passed away. He took a three-month road trip across the United States, where he found a View-Master at a thrift shop in Portland, Ore.

“I had one as a kid, so we bought it and the 3D pics you could see were amazing,” Brennan wrote in an email to Mashable. “That was kind of the ‘lightbulb moment.’ Old school meets new school. The quality and heritage and tradition of the old manufacturing years is beautiful, and we’re trying to feature that when we bring a product to market.”

True-View launched on Kickstarter last month, and aims to raise 125,000 pounds (nearly $200,000) by Nov. 1. So far, the campaign has raised over 4,000 pounds (nearly $6,800) in funding. The first 100 backers that contribute 65 pounds (around $100) or more will receive a True-View camera and app.

The Kickstarter campaign for Poppy, another 3D camera, was fully funded in July. Brennan emphasized that True-View has a different strategy than Poppy’s.

“We’ve positioned the True-View as a collectors’ item with a bit of a hipster feel to it,” he said. “We hope that anyone who likes the ‘retro-ness’ of Instagram, for example, will be interested in what we’re doing … True-View would look great on your mantlepiece next to your vinyl collection or an old vintage camera.”

What do you think of the True-View? Would you support its Kickstarter campaign? Let us know in the comments, below.

Image: Kickstarter, The Prately Company


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