One hundred years ago, there was the StereoScope.
Fifty years ago, there was the ViewMaster.
Some time, somewhere, someone will make the next one.
And it might as well be us!
The Consumer Immersive Viewer Initiative
Interactive Media Division
School of Cinematic Arts
University of Southern California
A next-generation consumer immersive viewer is inevitable. Like the StereoScope and ViewMaster, it will be small, handheld, and child-friendly, offering the deep immersion of stereoscopic 3D imagery. And with today's digital technologies, it can also display moving images, provide "look-around" (via real-time tracking), and double as a camera.
New medium, new messages
Imagine watching 3D movies, playing 3D games, and more. Imagine looking around an ultra-high-resolution 3D fantasy panorama - of an online game, another galaxy, or a kaleidoscope. Or imagine looking around real world places live, streaming via the Internet from "VR webcams" - of Baghdad, from a rainforest, or inside an anthill.
Two small image sensors in front, used for tracking, double as cameras. Digital imagery can be overlaid on top of the physical world, perfectly aligned. Real environments can be augmented with educational information. And two-way connections can allow points-of-view to swap: I can see what you see, and you can see what I see, all in live immersive 3D.
We expect a successful next-generation consumer immersive viewer to have better-than-television resolution and cost around $100. The technology is not there yet, but it will be in four or five years.
But begin now
If we begin now, we get a head start on understanding the technical, aesthetic, and marketing challenges to making a successful product. We believe we can be mindful of potential collaborators and IP protection as well as provide a setting for creative exploration and solid academic research.
The USC Interactive Media Division's senior faculty and staff constitute the single largest concentration of virtual reality experience in the world. In addition, we have an increasingly world-class presence in mobile media expertise, and our games expertise is unrivaled. We've also been working with a team of MBA students and faculty from the USC Marshall School of Business, which have targeted the children's educational toy market as our prime opportunity.
Social enterprise funding
We believe that the next-generation consumer immersive viewer has the potential to enable people, particularly children, to see the world in newer, richer ways. We also believe that it has high commercial potential. We are therefore seeking a social entrepreneur or organization interested in both "doing good" for society as well as engaging the marketplace as a healthy arena for learning, provocation, and discourse.
For more information, please contact Michael Naimark <firstname.lastname@example.org>.