Skip to Content

3-D Made Simple

Software takes photos into a new dimension.

If the giant soda can that adorns your neighborhood vending machine looks so real you’re ready to reach out and grab it, the image was probably created by an Israeli company that has invented a new way to produce stereo 3-D images from ordinary photographs.

HumanEyes, based in Jerusalem, uses software algorithms developed by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to analyze the images a digital camera records in continuous or video mode as it sweeps over a scene. The software examines and integrates dozens to hundreds of frames and creates a continuum of “virtual” views. One-pixel-wide slices of selected views are interlaced, and the processed image is printed and attached to lenticular plastic-sheets of long thin lenses.

These lenses send different underlying pictures to each eye, giving the viewer the illusion of depth. And as the viewer’s angle shifts, different pairs of perspectives appear-just as if the viewer were walking past an actual scene. Other companies such as ProMagic in Vista, CA, also sell software for making lenticular images, but HumanEyes is the first to give stereoscopic photographs both realistic depth and this “panoramic” effect.

The technology’s first outing is in Chile, where HumanEyes’ images decorate Coca-Cola vending machines. Other companies will soon snap up the technology, predicts James Nail, a senior analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, MA. Meanwhile, HumanEyes is developing a home version of its software that will allow digital-camera hobbyists to create their own 3-D images.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.