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Hands-on with Sony's new 3D goggles

It was '3D this, 3D that' at Sony's CES 2011 press conference. We were half asleep when suddenly we were jolted awake by talk of some awesome 3G goggles.

Ian Morris

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Conventional 3D technologies work by trickery, fooling your eyes into seeing a 3D image. This can occasionally cause problems, such as double-imaging and blinding headaches. It would be far better to give each eye its own high-definition image so they can do their work as usual and create a 3D image for you. Enter Sony with a pair of Tron-esque 3D glasses that will beam all three dimensions directly into your sight spheres.

Using a pair of 1,280x720-pixel OLED panels, the Sony glasses create an amazingly bright, and apparently massive, screen right in front of your eyes. As the system uses two screens, there's no cross-talk and each image looks crisp and vibrant.

The Sony system also uses stereo headphones to deliver virtual surround sound. But, if you were to wear these glasses at home, you could use a proper surround-sound system to get fantastic and immersive audio.

We found the 3D effect to be pretty impressive. Crave machine Luke Westaway went so far as to describe the glasses as his favourite thing of the show, even though the show had yet to properly open when we saw them.

There are some practical downsides, though. 3D TVs and active glasses will still be cheaper than the Sony system, for one. Also, the Sony glasses will be fine for lone viewing, but they're not exactly family-friendly.

On the plus side, add in an accelerometer and a games console, and you've basically got 3D virtual reality ready to go. That's something geeks have wanted for years.

If anyone can make a success of these awesome goggles, it has to be Sony. We can't wait to buy a pair. Make it happen, Sony.

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That's right -- the future is here.
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Sony knows that geeks love Tron, and we can't help but think it's playing up to that slightly.
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This gadget was the shining star of the Sony CES booth. It attracted constant enthusiastic attention from the assembled hacks.
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The goggles aren't especially comfortable at this stage, but they're a prototype. When they hit the market, they'll be much more usable.
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The image is generated by a pair of tiny 720p OLED panels. The image is crisp and clear, and the 3D effect is very impressive.

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