Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

July 9, 2010 -

Has the consumer electronics industry been downplaying the negative effects 3D technology might have on a viewer’s health?

This is the angle a column on Audioholics takes, insinuating that Sega specifically buried a report by the Stanford Research Lab on its VR Headset. The story claims that the lab came back with “dire warnings about the hazards of prolonged use” and warned Sega specifically that “you cannot give this to kids!” The product never did make it to market.

The column also states that “Children under seven are at risk of strabismus – period.” Strabismus, also called “lazy-eye,” is described as “an abnormal alignment of the eyes in which the eyes don’t focus on the same object and depth perception is compromised.” While the condition can be treated, the author wonders if “it’s also never too late to learn bad habits that could create visual problems.”

The following conclusion was offered:

Marathon video game sessions in 2D are already difficult on the eyes because you’ve had to focus intensely at a single depth for hours. How will you step away from a marathon video game session in 3D?

Samsung previously issued a warning for owners of its 3D televisions stating that “Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol,” should avoid subjecting themselves to 3D technology.

The accompanying image, taken from Strabismus.org, features a boy wearing “therapeutic prism lenses” designed to help treat strabismus.


Comments

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Marathon video game sessions in 2D are already difficult on the eyes because you’ve had to focus intensely at a single depth for hours. How will you step away from a marathon video game session in 3D?

Bullshit. I played No More Heroes 2 yesterday for 6 hours and I even didn´t blink, and I use glasses. This is again the "think of the children" crap.

 

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Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

So long as people take regular breaks (generally at hourly intervals) then there should be very few problems. Even a 5 minute break is decent.

I don't heed this advice myself, however. :/

-- Randi Tastix

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

"Marathon video game sessions in 2D are already difficult on the eyes because you’ve had to focus intensely at a single depth for hours. How will you step away from a marathon video game session in 3D?"

Sorry folks, but this strikes me as nonsense. It's like saying that reading a book is hard enough, so going out into the real world will harm kids' eyes. Or it's like saying that looking at a photograph is hard enough, so looking through a window will ruin a child's eyes. I mean what do they think happens when you use a 3D game? It's exactly the same thing that happens when you walk in a real room or look out of a window - your eyes focus at different distances. This is not some new-fangled technology. People have been doing this for millions of years.

Your eyes aren't being 'tricked' into de-focusing when using a 3D game. They're still focusing on an image, but the image is harder to focus on because of the visible real world distractions and because of your brain's knowledge of the actual distance to what it knows is a screen. As such, 3D games should train the eye muscles and HELP kids overcome strabismus, not prevent them from doing so.

And as others have said, ANYTHING is bad if you do too much of it. If I eat broccoli every meal I'm guessing that will be bad for me. The trick is to vary the experience.

In this case I suspect poorly conducted (or poorly interpreted) studies and the old witch hunt mentality raising its head again. Here we have a tool that may help people, but the witch hunters have their agenda, so video games must be bad.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

As someone with strabismus, i can say that there is absolutely no way that 3DTV could possibly offer any HELP towards anyone affected. Its not an issue of training muscles, its a brain thing. When you sit there staring at something, you just look strait at it, you don't have to consciously switch eyes to judge its distance do you? I do, it comes with being stereoblind.

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Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

It seems like porn is more suited for 3D than videogames after all. You have the no young'uns and limited session length factors built right in to standard usage.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Argument by analogy is like making a car, but then forgetting to put in the windows.  You wouldn't make a car without windows.  Would you?

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

You should watch Gung-Ho.

"I see nothing wrong with these cars!"

"

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

"How will you step away from a marathon video game session in 3D?"

Does that strike anyone else as FUD? They don't actually have the answer, but they are sure you don't either, so it must be bad. I have to say, anytime I spot FUD, I figure they are retreating to it because of a lack of real argument.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Too much of ANYTHING is bad for you. You can't use people dying from 48 hour gaming marathons to say that gaming is deadly. You can't use that your hands hurt after 8 hours of gaming to say that the controllers are destroying the dextarity of today's youth.

3D screens are bad for your children to stare at for prolonged lengths of time. 2D screens are bad for your children to stare at for prolonged lengths of time. TV screens are bad for your children to stare at for prolonged lengths of time. Aquariums are bad for your children to stare at for prolonged lengths of time. See a patern?

These people love getting their name in the paper, and alarmist researchers get more recognition then ones that propose comon sense. Just like the ones that claimed that lack of brushing could lead to heart attack, since they INJECTED plaque into the arteries of mice and they died. I guess peanut butter and AIR may also heart attack as mice will also die if those are injected into their arteries.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Argh, you were doing so well until your analogy at the end there.

Brushing your teeth helps prevent heart disease -- that's what the data says, not from injecting plaque into mice but from studying adult human toothbrushing habits.

For my money, argument by analogy is usually a bad idea.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Considering that teens are importing illegal contact lenses so they can look like Lady Gaga, I don't think warnings about eye problem-causing 3D tech will give them much pause.

 

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

I don't think teens are the issue, so much.  While the article DOES suggest that people of any age could potentially damage their vision with prolonged exposure to 3D images, the age group most at risk is children 7 and under.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

 I am not sure how relevant the research actually is.

The big problem with the visors was not that they were faking 3D via focusing tricks, but the problems they caused when vision was out of sync with what the inner ear was reporting, causing a cascade of malfunctions in the brain.

To use that study to talk about the new 3D equipment is like trying to site a study on SUV rollover for why convertibles are dangerous.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Hm.  The Audioholics article focuses on stereopsis, but you're right, a glance at the abstract for the Australian DoD document that they linked focuses on the problems that result from eye and inner ear not syncing.  Not sure about the original Stanford report; near as I can tell it's not actually linked.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

I'm not investing in a 3DTV until there is some real 3D involved. Something where I can choose what to focus on just by looking at it. I really hate how in those 3D movies in the theater your focus is forced, it makes looking at the screen very hard in some cases.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

No longer needing glasses will aslo be a huge step.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

I'm afraid 3D without glasses is simply called real life.

 

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Or any of the numerous models displayed in the 3d screen convention in Germany a while back, you know, using an improved version of the google tech to give multiple focus point for onlookers?

Lurk moar! ;)

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

And the 3DS

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Your real life looks like Kid Icarus?

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Well there's already been warnings to not give kids the 3DS unit.

Still, we can almost certainly expect calls for total bans instead of you know, parenting.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Bring on the gamers license I say.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Oh wow, I'd forgotten all about that VR visor Sega was working on.

The Stanford paper seems compelling, and even though what we're looking at now is different from the visor tech, it operates on the same basic focusing principle.

I'd like to see more research on the subject, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to take a cautious stance in the meantime and keep kids away from 3D -- or at the very least keep them away from prolonged exposure to it.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Agreed.  More research is necessary, and the cautious approach by Nintendo and Samsung to me, as a parent, is very welcome.

---

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--- With the first link, the chain is forged.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

"Marathon video game sessions in 2D are already difficult on the eyes because you’ve had to focus intensely at a single depth for hours. How will you step away from a marathon video game session in 3D?"

Is there anyone out there who plays games (or watches movies or reads books) for hours on end without ever refocusing their eyes somewhere else?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

You mean like that one time where I needed to pay my rent and was asked to stare at a screen for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, trying to look productive?

Never happened.

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Well, how long has it been since the last Harry Potter book came out?

---
Fangamer

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Fangamer

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Yes.  I'm sure there are.  Personally I make sure to look at other things every few minutes, especially at work.  And I suspect most people do so to avoid eye strain.  But there are always be some people....

===============

Chris Kimberley

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Chris Kimberley

Re: Concerns Mount Over 3D Gaming and TV Viewing

Not entirely, I'm sure, but I've definitely gone for hours on end and only taken breaks to go to the bathroom or get another glass of water.  Hell, I spend an inordinate amount of time in front of screens even on days where I don't game.

 
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