3D imagery is one technology that's generating buzz in 2010, and while it has been around for decades there's now a strong push to bring it to the everyday consumer. One such company is Fujifilm, who having launched their FinePix 3D REAL W1 digital camera last summer are now poised to follow-up with a 3D printing solution as well.
The company's FinePix 3D camera takes two pictures simultaneously from two slightly different angles, so that when they're viewed together they give a 3-dimensional image. The camera is complimented by the FinePix REAL 3D V1 digital viewer which displays 3D images without the aid of special glasses. The arrival of the 3D printer will add yet another option for consumers to view their 3D images.
While I have not yet seen any of these images printed on Fujifilm's new printer, it's exciting to see a company working towards 3D imagery that doesn't require 3D glasses to view them. This is seen as one of the stumbling blocks for the 3D TV industry, and Fujifilm seems to have recognized this and reacted accordingly with its 3D printing solution.
The printer works by using dye-sublimation to print on lenticular sheets, which sounds confusing but really isn't. Think back to those Cracker Jack prizes that show different pictures depending on the angle from which it's viewed. That's the principle behind lenticular imaging, and that's how Fujifilm plans to print 3D images (view a video example here for a visual). It's an old idea, but hopefully the latest technology can give it new life.
Currently users have to order their 3D photos online from Fujifilm and have them printed in Japan. As you might expect, this process is slow and can require a few weeks.
Fujifilm plans to introduce this new 3D Print System this summer to the UK, thus allowing more consumers to print 3D images without having to wait so long for them to process.
The printer will be small measuring approximately 35x17x18 inches. Prints will be available in four sizes: 6x4, 4x6, 5x7, and 6x9 inches. No word yet on how much this printer or 3D prints will cost, but we according to the press release we can look forward to an announcement in April.