Nintendo DSi headtracking and the 3DS

The video above shows a clever use of the Nintendo DSi’s front-facing camera. It tracks the user’s eyes and redraws the scene accordingly. This is the same trick used in Johnny Chung Lee’s Wii display hack. He was using IR instead of facial recognition though.

I found this video (via Gizmodo) while looking for more info on Nintendo’s 3DS announcement. Nintendo’s next handheld console will feature glasses-free 3D and is going to premier at E3. People are speculating that the 3DS will use technology similar to Sharp’s parallax barrier.

I’m not very excited about 3D coming to home theaters since it’s still glasses based, but I think this is a great move by Nintendo. Handhelds are single user devices perfect for fixed perspective 3D. They could use the front facing camera to track the viewers head and adapt to their viewpoint, making the effect even better. Sharp started selling 3D monitors in 2004 and the tech has surely improved since then. Will the 3DS be to the Virtual Boy what the iPhone was to the Newton?

The only downside I see to this is the DS losing some of its 2D share. Low resolution 2D games still shine on the DS and I’d hate to see development of these axed in favor of a gimmicky 3D version.

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