Sony warns about health effects of 3D technology

By Matthew Smith on July 13, 2010, 3:42 PM
While stereoscopic 3D continues to be promoted as the next big thing in home theater technology, the long term health consequences of it are not clear. Some people myself included have complained of headaches, blurry vision, and other side effects.

Sony, no doubt preferring to play it safe, has issued a warning saying these problems are not to be taken lightly. The latest Playstation 3 Terms of Service statement advises that anyone who experiences "eye strain, eye fatigue or nausea" should turn off 3D immediately. Players can begin using the technology again when discomfort subsides, however.

It isn't clear what research Sony's disclaimer is based on, but the company isn't alone in its caution. Nintendo has stated that the new 3DS will carry a recommendation that children under the age of seven should only use the device in 2D mode. Samsung has also stated that watching 3D content isn't advisable if you "need sleep or have been drinking alcohol."




User Comments: 25

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kyosuke said:

Thank you. See so it is their way of getting Americans to watch less TV and play less games. It's like when you were younger and your parents said if you masturbate you will go blind.

kyosuke said:

But I would like to note how Sony and Nintendo recognized their problem, told us how to deal with it, didn't blame it on us, and taking actions to warn us about them. Sony and/or Nintendo send a rep over to Apple and teach them your ways of problem solving!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Thank you. See so it is their way of getting Americans to watch less TV and play less games. It's like when you were younger and your parents said if you masturbate you will go blind.
You should probably stop or at least let up somewhat, if you start failing routine eye exams. Just as a precaution, mind you. Now please feel free to do nothing but masturbate and play video games, we're not here to judge.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Heh...I watched Avatar 3D at an IMAX. That is the very best 3D technology available both in glasses and display, and I couldn't wait to rip those glasses off my head when the movie was done because of the headache it was creating. Try watching a few hours of evening TV or even more intense, computer gaming on far lesser 3D quality products.

Sony and Nintendo are just playing it safe by making these disclaimers before hand. But I'm here to tell ya - by the end of 2012, 3D is going to make the list of "Top 10 Technologies That Failed."

Guest said:

yep. 3D sucks big time. so painful to watch.......never again.

Guest said:

@kyosuke:

The fact that u read the article... you proved them wrong man! you proved em wrong!!!

Mommy shld be proud...

BMfan BMfan said:

But I'm here to tell ya - by the end of 2012, 3D is going to make the list of "Top 10 Technologies That Failed."

+1

matrix86 matrix86 said:

kyosuke said:

Thank you. See so it is their way of getting Americans to watch less TV and play less games.

What is it with you and constantly putting Americans on the front line? Adobe introduces 3D and you say it's their way to get Americans to watch less TV and play games...this article about safety comes out and you say the same stuff. What does any of this have to do with how much tv we watch and how much we play video games? We can't be the only country addicted to TV and video games...

But anyway, I have always wondered if there were any health risks involved with the new 3D technology. It doesn't bother me or give me blurry vision, but it seems that most people have that problem. So I can't help but wonder about the negative effects it will have in the long run.

bugejakurt said:

This technology should be researched for its consequences. People should bear in mind that 3D is the next big money thing and companies selling 3D wouldn't want to open their mouths on the consequences. If a company like sony and nintendo did it, it's because of its true consequences that maybe are worse than described.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

if we go & ban everything that's bad for human beings, this world would be dull ... so to those thinking it will fail, it will for you but not for everyone.

to those who think it is bad for health, so as fast food, smoking, alcohol, walking on the street

to those who do stay 3 hours or more in front of a monitor (like me sometimes - shame on me!) - well it's about time we do get a life elsewhere ...

3D is good for some & bad for some, like almost everything. It's appealing to some & not to others - how about vegemite!

I agree that this poses particular concern for the kids within ourself would rather brave the limitations than bind to some legal or health warning conditions, after some must fall for others to rise LOL .. sorry! being serious now, we do have to be careful with all technology, i think they are like some said, trying to remove the responsibilities off their back, like you see the 'smoking is bad' warning but we have the choice of trying & control (huh, really!) ..

I can't wait to see a glassless 3D capable TV as soon as possible, but this time the technology won't die, unless we all die with it ...

cheers!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

TomSEA said:

by the end of 2012, 3D is going to make the list of "Top 10 Technologies That Failed."

+1 on that!

To Richy2K9 - its not that it will fail for some and succeed for others, when I say it will fail I mean overall in sales and popularity.

Too many people I know just don't want to watch football and movies and games in 3D, I wouldn't be suprised if the 3DS actually has lower sales than the DS just because it has a wasted function on to most users.

Guest said:

Can we not skip this glasses crap and make proper 3d tv already, this seems like a step back to me.

windmill007 said:

yeah get rid of Glasses. Problem solved. I will not buy into this 3D till they do. They have already done it so it's only a matter of time. I feel bad for these early adopters buying this old school 3D technology.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Soooooooooo, just to recap the last year or so in the entertainment/technology industry...

3D movies, 3D games, more 3D movies, 3D TVs, 3D gaming, 3D handheld gaming, 3D 3D 3D (don't mind those headaches) 3D iPad (it's magical) 3D 3D 3D 3D iPhone4 (great for righties) 3D 3D (by the way did we mention 3D can be bad for you?) 3D 3D...

I applaud Sony for the public service announcement, but I seriously doubt they'll reign in on pushing their 3D hardware and gaming emphasis. Nor will any other manufacturers. That is until it's proven to cause eyeballs to explode, create black holes in your brain, or some other medical reason to ban the products. Or when it just doesn't sell much and the fad loses its luster. Either way... Either way...

g4mer said:

I heard one 6 year old boy improved his vision with 3D games. His vision was improved by 250%.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

@ burty117, all i can see on this site is that most say they know what everyone else think. I'm sorry but i've seen skeptics changed their mind after experiencing it.

Now for the health issue, it's true we do have to be careful, like with everything else, abuse is bad ... even of oxygen or water ... so why don't we just be realistic & state: I Love 3D or I hate 3D instead of saying it will fail, no one loves 3D, maybe a lot of people in your surrounding hates it too, like a lot do love it elsewhere, that's where i'm saying, if everyone here hates 3D so be it, but don't assume you 'KNOW' for the whole world ...

sorry if i sound like someone who don't want it to fail because i already invested in it, i haven't yet, i'm an old techy that's been testing a lot of PC technology, I do feel that this time it's the right time, so you may not believe me, but in fact it has always succeeded - why! they just improved now & then then do another official relaunch, this is not a new technology, it's an improved of an already going one ...it's been there since the 50s ... why don't you see it!

Again, it may cause serious headaches like when you see a 200Hz image quality for the first time, but now the quality is here & all wee need is to adapt.

Oh btw, i already have vision issues & i can easily see stereoscopic 3D images, it hurts a little in the beginning, but then after 5 minutes, it becomes all natural. 3D with those blue & red glasses do seem old tech

cheers!

Richy2k9 said:

sorry, i forgot i've watched a few MPEG2 (Sat) converted IMAX 3D documentaries, if most new movies, games or whatever else do look half like it (which i doubt being now in HD) i'm buying it & i'm more than a perfectionist when i speak of image quality !!!

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

I heard one 6 year old boy improved his vision with 3D games. His vision was improved by 250%.

i've never played a game in 3D mainly because I don't need to in order to enjoy it. i guess it's a cool option if you have the money to throw away on 3D tech but i'm good with 2D. like most people, i would probably get a headache after awhile w/ 3D, especially while trying to play an intense game. heck, sometimes that already happens with 2D stuff lol.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

@ burty117, but in fact it has always succeeded

Really? If it Really succeeded like color TV did or the DVD (which lets face it succeeded) why are we all still looking at a TV without blue and red glasses? anyway carry on...

why! they just improved now & then then do another official relaunch, this is not a new technology, it's an improved of an already going one ...it's been there since the 50s ... why don't you see it!

Ok first off 3D has actually been around a lot longer than the 50s, Again though if really has "never failed" as you put it, surely they shouldn't have to re-launch it? for example:-

Mobile phones came out and were huge and impossible to put in the pocket and didn't last very long battery wise and people didn't buy them so much because they were expensive but they did have a usefulness about them that kept them going and selling. Now today they are small and over 10 billion have been sold.

Progress of 3D, Became useable outside the science lab in the form of blue and red glasses, first few hits with 3D was at the cinema, when these movies came out on video you could also watch them at home in 3D, but it didn't catch on and became just another fad. Now its shutter glasses. But in that time it had been lost and forgotten and just seen as a fancy fad.

Surely thats failure of a product that obviously the general public just didn't want?

Again, it may cause serious headaches like when you see a 200Hz image quality for the first time, but now the quality is here & all wee need is to adapt.

We need to adapt? Ok, apple maybe stupid but one idea they have made through adverts is true in any case, ipad for example, can be held (sort of) anyway you like, its the reason that its so easy to use, I know its not the greatest product and I personally don't own one, but when using one its nice to be able to just "use it" you know?

Another example that now explains what happens when we have to "adapt" to a particular product, iPhone 4, as we all well know, cannot be held with your left hand as you lose all your signal and that also means the functionality as a phone, so apple said "don't hold it like that then" and all the lefties in the world thought "apple are right! we are stupid". Actually if you've been reading the news you'll find that apple are being kicked in the nuts for that because people see it as an "unuseable product in its current state".

So really telling everyone to adapt to a product, unless rather useful (like a car for example) its just silly, especially to just watch TV.

Oh btw, i already have vision issues & i can easily see stereoscopic 3D images, it hurts a little in the beginning, but then after 5 minutes, it becomes all natural. 3D with those blue & red glasses do seem old tech

cheers!

Ok fair enough, I do see where your coming from but surely seeing a football fly past you momentarily isn't going to change anything expecially if users have to go through 5 minutes of pain when they switch their TV on after a hard days of work? considering some people come home with headaches from working then switch on their new TV to then get a migrain just to watch the footie?

Sorry but this tech has a long way to go before its natually accepted as "the way forward".

matrix86 matrix86 said:

@burty117

If 3D really was a failed tech, why does it keep coming back? I do agree with you that we shouldn't have to adapt to it, and I don't know many people who are willing to drop the kind of cash that 3D costs to simply "adapt" to it.

However, I don't think we can say this is a failed technology. If it goes away and comes back better, I don't really see how that is a fail. Maybe a temporary fail, but not a permanent one. I think it still has a long way to go yet before it is widely accepted, but a failed project? Me thinketh not. The fact that it comes back improved is all the evidence you'll need. And with all these companies investing so much money in it, I think it's guaranteed that they'll pour more money into it to improve it even more.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@burty117

If 3D really was a failed tech, why does it keep coming back?

Since reality is in 3D, one supposes that it would be the final hurdle toward the playback of events as they actually happened. (I'm working on the premise that wasn't a rhetorical statement).

However, I don't think we can say this is a failed technology. If it goes away and comes back better, I don't really see how that is a fail. Maybe a temporary fail, but not a permanent one. I think it still has a long way to go yet before it is widely accepted, but a failed project? Me thinketh not. The fact that it comes back improved is all the evidence you'll need. And with all these companies investing so much money in it, I think it's guaranteed that they'll pour more money into it to improve it even more.
Unfortunately, it is possibly destined to fail. I think we've all been conditioned to believe that such things as (Star Trek) "Holodecks" will eventually be possible, what we will be able to achieve by comparison, won't be sufficient to please the masses. With that being said, I admit we've come a long way from the chintzy blue and green glasses, er haven't we...?

Guest said:

Personally I agree with SONY and other companies. I like play 3D games, especially Flight simulators. 3D gave me first time real "feeling of flying" and feeling of altitude above ground.

But 3D games and 3D TV too are pushing our brain to higher strain. After few hours I'm more tired like on 2D.

It will need more research how to make good new 3D games and 3D movies. AVATAR in IMAX was perfect, but only when camera was still. When was mooving, I saw blur, brain wasn't able to calculate all 3D scene so fast.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

most seem to like defending their ideas & come up with good arguments, i bow to this & thank you for staying mature.

If i keep on coming up also, it's because i see the points, but not your logic. I agree it's not the best technology out there & cannot even be compared to TV or mobile phone, for these aren't optional devices nowadays, they went beyond that status long ago & the time & effort put into such products gave us what we have today. From CRT BW TV to Plasma / LED & OLED it was from a good product to a better one, but it still cost. For 3D it is from a not 'so good' product to a 'good' one, it may take 5 - 10 years & even the 'holodeck' will be seen in 3D by our eyes, when in fact it isn't ... LOL

I'm even think about sci-fi mind-projection that seem insane could become a reality, so yes there is a time for a product to be adapted to human use & a time for us to adapt to it. I don't see the comparison with the iPAD & iphone4 to be needed here, for even if the problem look the same, as for 3D the technology is still under development but everyone in the beginning would face same issues, for it means our brain need to process more info.

The reason why i compared to watching a 200Hz movie - in 2D shows same issue - until we adapt to such new trend, we will feel dizzy but then it goes just fine like for some who travel often & not getting air or sea sick anymore. The iphone4 fault is to neglect a reality, not forcing people to adapt to something completely new to their system.

3D using shutter glass is cool, i've seen 3D with those bi-colored plastic that feel great, no headache just a few minutes to adapt & off you go for more than 1 hour, i admit after this you have to re-adapt a little to stop seeing things weird (i would advise not to 3D & drive like in not to drink alcohol & drive LOL!) ...

to go your side, i'll agree that we don't yet need big HD TVs to be in 3D, it would cost too much & won't be appealing to the mass populace .. but i'll be happier if i could get a 3D projection eye-set like those portable media player with 52-62" personal cinema (eyetrek or glasstron i think) .. if we have these in 3D .. will be way better, for cheaper to produce & will target ONLY those who need or can stand it.

The big giants decided to go for 3D TVs, they are not bad, they cost too much but we've found good use to them with new content coming up. SONY is going 3D with the Bravia TVs, Blu-rays, PS3, now Hulu & Youtube will have special treats to PS3 owners (too bad not for my part of the world) .. more & more movies are being directly shot in 3D, the quality is here but the dizziness also, so this time it will appeal to more who don't feel sick that much or at all. That's why i don't believe it's a fail & today it's stronger than ever & you people need to realise this...

we may don't want bad things to happen, they do ... (kids playing GTA / smoking / accidents / terrorism / clowns) ... so 3D is bound to happen, you like it or not.

I'm just on the side of those that can support it, & like me there are millions waiting to do so... just see where Bluray was & HD TV a few years ago, now a lot of people already watch 200Hz movies ...

& i need to say that i had a shutter glass with my voodoo back then, liked the concept but hated the result, i thought that i would never go 3D too until i came upon a few pix & footage ... now i'm waiting for my Batman GOTY to be delivered (yeah sold the release edition for that) & will be able to compare a 'normal blue/red' 3D to the upcoming 'shutter-glass' one ... yet i've got friends who did try & had positive review...

cheers!

Guest said:

Bring on the 3D - even with glasses. I love it, and have not had a problem with it. (Not sure if you can be trained to not get sick.) Maybe if they can get it to a faster refresh rate it won't upset as many people. It isn't much different than normal sight since both eyes are seeing thing from a different perspective anyway. Those of you that want to wait for better technology can - and while you are sitting there playing or watching 2D technology - waiting for the next big upgrade - I will be sitting here enjoying everything possible in 3D. Reminds me of my father-in-law (Nuclear Physicist - real smart) - he kept researching computers - wanting to get the best. Never got one - since he always heard about newer and better technology coming along soon. So he sat in libraries on their computers - doing research - and never enjoying the fruits of the research.

So what if glasses isn't the best technology? For many of us it works - and if the number of people watching 3D movies means anything (they wouldn't be making them if people weren't watching them) it is a good market.

Guest said:

IMAX is not superior technology. It uses a linear form of polarization that can easily cause headaches or disorientation with a slight turn or tilting of the head. The newer techonologies such as RealD and Dolby 3D use a circular polarization and dichroic filters to present the two different images respectively. This will not completely eliminate headaches and discomfort for all viewers, but tends to cut down on the side effects considerably. It is likely that if you had some problems with 3D initially over time this would subside with more frequent exposure. Similar is one who is on a boat and develops sea sickness. If you stay on the boat or are exposed to boats more frequently you tend to develop your "sea legs." Also, kids should not view 3D content for more than a couple hours a day and maybe only a couple hours a week. The binocular system (how the eyes work together) is still developing up to about 12 and possibly longer. This could effect their ability to see depth in the future if they are constantly tricking their eyes into seeing depth for multiple hours a day.

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