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Technological Spectacles

You've heard about PC 3-D gaming glasses and you understand that they add depth perception to the gaming experience so that graphics come alive. That seems pretty amazing to you, considering those graphics come to you via a flat computer screen. So, you're wondering: how do PC 3-D gaming glasses work to make your screen come alive? The secret can be found in liquid crystal displays (LCD).

Fine Tuning

If you've ever worn a digital watch, you know that liquid crystals in your watch can change the display from black to transparent and back again. In just the same way, the lenses of PC 3-D glasses can change from transparent to opaque. In this manner, the glasses choose which of your eyes can view the graphics on your monitor. With some fine-tuning in terms of the timing, the result is a three-dimensional image. Here's how it works:

1) Your computer shows you two images. These images represent the separate views as seen by each of your eyes.

2) These two views are flashed on your screen one after the other, quite fast.

3) As the image on the left is shown, the vision in your right eye is obscured by virtue of the LCD glasses and vice versa.

Stereoscopic Vision

The process is so quick that your brain doesn't register two images. This merging of two images is the same process we experience with our two human eyes and is called stereoscopic vision. But PC 3-D glasses haven't always performed so well. Today's gaming glasses have already gone into their fourth generation.

The earliest, 1st generation glasses required that the computer games be adapted for use with stereoscopic 3-D. Since each manufacturer made the gaming glasses to their own specifications, the game authors would have to build in support for a variety of LCD glasses. If you bought a game that didn't support the brand of glasses you'd purchased, the glasses wouldn't provide you with the 3-D experience.

The second generation glasses were designed to supersede the game by controlling and changing the display as seen on your screen. Processing the game images and converting them into 3-D took time, though, and the result was a slow-down in performance and blurry, clumsy images. Because these glasses were compatible with most games, they trumped the earlier glasses.

Picture Perfect

The third generation 3-D glasses were an attempt to deal with the blurred and klutzy images of the 2nd generation spectacles. They did a pretty good job at keeping a decent resolution and improving the graphics, but only worked with certain games.

The current, 4th generation glasses have combined the lessons learned through the earlier models. These glasses work with almost all games, the graphics card takes care of the resolution so things look clear and real, and the LCD does its rapid magic giving us picture-perfect 3-D images.

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