Kickstarter Project Poppy Makes iPhone a 3D Camera

Posted by at 1:18 pm on June 26, 2013

Poppy 3DA couple of Seattle entrepreneurs have launched a Kickstarter campaign for Poppy, a View-Master-like contraption that turns any iPhone into a 3D camera. Just pop your iDevice into the slot, twist open the mirrors, and capture your life in the same way you experience it — in three dimensions.

By aligning the front mirrors with the optics of the iPhone’s camera, Poppy’s lenses combine the right-eye and left-eye streams into a single 3D video, viewable via the matching iOS app, on YouTube, or on a 3D-enabled television set.

“It’s beautiful,” co-creators Ethan Lowry and Joe Heitzeberg said on Kickstarter. “And really hard to describe or show in two dimensions.”

The device works with the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and fifth-gen iPod touch, though you’ll have to pry your phone out of its case in order for it to fit into the viewer. Battery-free and void of any electronic parts, Poppy works its magic through the science of optics, and your iPhone’s camera and screen.

Lowry and Heitzeberg have tested their creation at weddings, from the sidelines of sporting events, and while playing with their kids; they even suggested its possible use in real estate and architectural walk-throughs. The modern gadget is rooted in the 19th century (and the 1980s), taking cues from the stereoscope of yore, as well as the now-vintage View-Master.

“We love the feeling those simple devices give of stepping into another world,” the Kickstarter page said. “But they were all about seeing someone else’s photographs.” So throw out the old Disney World Reels and start capturing your own immersive 3D scenes.

Any camera or video app will suffice for Poppy filming — Camera Plus or Vine, Snapseed, or Instagram — but to make things even easier, Heitzeberg and Lowry created a dedicated iOS app for Poppy, which captures 3D videos and still images, saves photos and videos to the iPhone’s camera roll, and uploads videos onto YouTube.

As of press time, Poppy had garnered 340 backers, and more than $23,255 —more than halfway to the final goal of $40,000, with another 29 days of campaigning left. For $49 or more, supporters will receive a Poppy from the first full production run, as well as their name included in the Hall of Fame. A limited number of backers can snag a reward like a pre-production Poppy used for early test runs ($229), or a functional 3D-printed Poppy prototype, worth $1,200 or more (only one of the two pieces of Poppy history is still available).

Production is expected to begin in October, with an estimated November/December shipment period.

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