What are 3-D Glasses?

Also referred to as Stereoscopy, is the viewing or appearance of objects in or as if in three dimensions. A popular term for stereoscopy is 3-D. Stereoscopic pictures are produced in pairs, showing the same scene or object from slightly different angles that correspond to the angles of vision of the two eyes of a person looking at the object itself. We see these common in movie theaters. When we go watch a 3D movie, we are given 3D glasses. You will see how these work in the diagram below.

Charles Wheatstone

Who invented stereoscopy you may ask? Stereopsis was first described by Wheatstone in 1838. In 1840 he was awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society for his explanation of binocular vision, a research, which is when he created stereoscopic drawings and constructed the stereoscope.
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What is a stereoscope?

A stereoscope is composed of two pictures mounted next to each other, and a set of lenses to view the pictures through. Each picture is taken from a slightly different viewpoint that corresponds closely to the spacing of the eyes. The left picture represents what the left eye would see, and likewise for the right picture. When observing the pictures through a special viewer, the pair of two-dimensional pictures merge together into a single three-dimensional photograph.

How Stereoscopy works

This is how you should look at stereoscopy: It is two separate pictures of an object taken by both of our eyes from different points of view. Therefore, in the stereoscope, an arrangement of lenses or mirrors, two photographs of the same object taken from different points are combined to make the object stand out as a solid. To see more of the optics and light portion of how stereoscopy works in a movie theater, see Diagram #1.

Why were stereoscopes created?

Because photography was unknown at the time, drawings were used. By 1850 crude stereoscopes and glass views were available.

Advantages of Stereoscopy

  • More job opportunities for people needed on crew sets
  • Will give marketing a boost in economic revenue
  • Will help certain eye problems
  • Enhance the eye's sensation of depth
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Disadvantages of Stereoscopy

  • More health risks may be developed due to the radiation
  • Security and privacy issues
  • Cost of stereoscopic technology
  • Limited availability / lack of use for purchased purposes


1. Stereoscopy | optics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/565664/stereoscopy
2. What is stereoscopy (stereoscopic imaging)? - Definition from WhatIs.com. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/stereoscopy-stereoscopic-imaging
3. What is stereoscopy (stereoscopic imaging)? - Definition from WhatIs.com. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/stereoscopy-stereoscopic-imaging

4. Stereoscopy and Illusions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/3d/3dpage.htm