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It's been a while since web cameras became everyday's gadget and it doesn't surprise anymore so see someone from overseas while you are chatting on instant messenger. However, Minoru 3D suggests that you can surprise your friend, for instance by showing yourself in three dimensions. All you need is an inexpensive 3D camera and pair of cheap anaglyph glasses.
Camera's design catches eye right from the beginning, and for some reason it reminds me Disney's Wall-e. The camera connects to a computer's USB and after installing drivers and calibration is ready to work with any video chat program, such as Skype or Yahoo messenger.
Minoru3D driver allows to switch between several types of stereoscopic format: anaglyph, cross eyed and parallel pairs, but only after you install recent update from their website
Camera's design is revealed after installing the drivers, in fact that's two USB cameras connected to an internal USB 2.0 hub. You can know it by seeing 3 new video devices added to your list: two href="http://www.vimicro.com/english/product/d_vc0326uvc.htm
">Vimicro USB 2.0 UVC PC</a> cameras and virtual Minoru 3D camera. From one hand it's kind of handy, because you can use internal cameras with stereoscopic software, such as Stereoscopic Player,
but from the other hand such a design tells us that there's no hardware synchronization between the cameras. You can notice lack of synch on fast moving objects, they create visual distortion of depth.
Yet another disappointment is lack of settings for brightness and white balance. The driver uses automatic adjustment which not always appropriate and also not synchronized, which again creates visual dissonance. The good news is that internal cameras allow to set brightness and white balance through video device settings, so you can have full image control using a third party driver, such as Stereoscopic Multiplexer. Hopefully Minoru 3D will add this essential feature in the future driver update.
It appears that native resolution is 640x480@30fps, however manufacturer of Vimicro cameras claims up to 2MP resolution
. Perhaps this is just interpolation aka digital zoom. Picture quality is not very impressive, but it's good enough for internet chatting and home 3D video recording. Camera comes with a Video Capture software which records clip in asf format. We can expect and already see 3D submissions at youtube, taken with Minoru 3D camera.Pros:
1. Cute eye catching design.
2. Elegant and convenient mounting.
3. Simple in use
4. Allows to use internal cameras with a third party softwareCons:
1. Cameras are not calibrated by manufacturer, you have to do calibration yourself
2. Current driver missing image control and picture looks overexposed
3. No hardware synchronization of the cameras
4. USB cable is shortConclusion:
Minoru3D, a working inexpensive stereoscopic webcamera, will give hours of fun to you and to your chat pals. But 3D enthusiasts will find it no more than just a 3D toy or yet another item in their dusting stereoscopic collection.
Unfortunately Minoru 3D, as most camera manufacturers, doesn't feel responsible to show real images taken by their camera, so ( Collapse )
You can buy Minoru 3D web camera from Amazon for $89.95 (free shipping)3Dimka ;)