Is 3DTV Bad for You?

With any new technology, the Law of Unintended Consequences is always lurking somewhere, waiting to bite you in the butt. 3DTV is no exception, and already the reports are beginning to show up, questioning whether or not 3DTV can be harmful to you in some way or another. Perhaps the most dramatic is the set of warnings that Samsung Australia has published. It may simply be a case of lawyer-induced defensive overkill, but their “Photosensitive Seizure Warning and Other Health Risks” statement has received a fair amount of attention on the Web. Some of it seems a bit silly, such as the admonition not to watch 3DTV if “you are in bad physical condition, need sleep or have been drinking alcohol.” Really? Don’t watch 3DTV if you’re tired?

Fortunately, there’s an industry group that is looking to provide additional information about the health implications of 3DTV. The 3D@Home Consortium is a group of more than 40 companies worldwide that are involved in the 3DTV market. The group recognizes that a lot of research as been done on the effects of stereoscopic displays on human physiology, but that there has not been a concerted effort to share, communicate, and compare the findings. The Consortium also has established relationships with similar organizations in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China, to further expand the scope of cooperation.

The Consortium has created a steering team that is chaired by representatives from members Intel and BlueFocus. Philip Corriveau is Principal Engineer and Director of the User Experience Research Group at Intel, and is be one of the co-chairs. The other co-chair is Paulette Pantoja, the CEO of BluFocus.

If this group can sift through the research and provide consumers with reliable, accurate information about the health risks associated with 3DTV (and 3D in the local cinema, for that matter), then they will have done a valuable service to the market.