Despite some fairly harsh criticism from the likes of Mark Kermode and our good selves, 3D seems to be here to stay. AMD’s recently launched Radeon HD 6000-series now supports 3D in some form (it’s called HD3D), while Nvidia has been pushing its 3D Vision for ages; meanwhile Hollywood is continuing to produce more and more 3D films, presumably to draw people away from their sofas and back into cinemas.
Ironically, every television manufacturer now has many 3D televisions to reverse this lure, and even television stations are setting up 3D-only channels for such exciting events as golf championships and concerts. One of the major drawbacks to all the screen-bursting, enhanced depth-of-field fun is the dorky glasses we all have to wear, and this is a problem that Oakley has been working on for around two years.
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Oakley has decided that active ‘shutter’ glasses aren’t the best option for 3D for a number of damning reasons – Oakley CEO Colin Baden told us that, ‘There are certain functional requirements of that technology platform that will force the optical device to always have a certain less than desirable aesthetic.’ That’s putting it mildly, but when Baden uses ‘aesthetic’ he doesn’t just mean what the glasses look like.
The Oakley reps we met listed a huge set of drawbacks for shutter glasses – the lens has to be flat, so you get back-side glare (light from behind you bouncing into your eyes from the lenses) and you’ll always have the frames of the glasses in your vision unless the lenses are massive. Then there’s the need for a power button and a battery which you either need to remember to charge or replace. The battery and electronics make the glasses heavier and bulkier too, and shutter glasses tend to only work with one manufacturer’s transmitter – you can’t use Samsung glasses with a Philips TV, for example.
The 3D Gascan eyewear is therefore a passive set, which has the advantages of allowing Oakley to use a curved lens and allowing you to use the glasses in cinemas and with any passive-3D kit you have at home. However, there are some problems that occur when you bend an optical lens.
This test kit simulates focusing on a point 35ft away.
Usually there’s the issue of misalignment, where the curve of lens doesn’t allow your two eyes to focus on a point, resulting in eye strain, fatigue and headaches. Oakley showed us a demo where a laser shone through each lens of the 3D Gascan could remain focused on a point even over a simulated distance of 35ft (around 10.7m), which should be plenty for even the largest of cinemas.
Lens Polarised (passive) wraparound
Prescription Optional (around £240)
Frame Material Plastic
Available Colours Black (polished), black (matt), white, rootbear