Capture, view and share 3D video clips and photos, all in one inexpensive device.
What is it?
Poppy lets you capture and share the world the way you really experience it: in three dimensions. Have you ever wished you could record a moment, and share it so someone else could feel like they were there, too? Well, now you can.
Poppy is the first device in the world that turns an iPhone into a 3D camera capable of capturing, viewing and sharing full-motion, full-color video and stills in 3D.
Poppy works with iPhone 4, 4S, iPhone 5 and the fifth generation iPod Touch. You put your phone in and Poppy’s mirrors capture two stereographic images using your iPhone’s single camera.
When you look in the viewfinder, Poppy’s lenses combine the two video streams into a single, crisp, 3D video. It’s beautiful, and really hard to describe or show in two dimensions.
It doesn’t need batteries and there are no electronics. It’s just optics and your iPhone’s camera and screen, so we can keep the price low without sacrificing quality.
(Conceptualization of 3D stereo imaging)
Put your iPhone in Poppy and you can view 3D videos and photographs. Give it a twist, and you can capture your own experiences in 3D.
What can I do with Poppy?
Poppy is great for capturing events like weddings and for action sports, or for just playing with your kids in the backyard. Images and videos captured with Poppy are immersive. Viewing feels like you’re experiencing the original moment again!
There are other possibilities too, like real estate and architectural walk-throughs, science, education, augmented reality, art and more.
We’ve tested Poppy in a lot of situations, but we’re most excited about the uses you’ll discover for Poppy!
You can use Poppy to watch tens of thousands of existing 3D videos on YouTube.
YouTube added support for 3D in 2009 and has since amassed a huge library of movie trailers, music videos, sports clips and user-generated content in 3D — and it all renders beautifully on Poppy.
3D videos on Poppy look much better than 3D content viewed using red/blue glasses. Since YouTube 3D uses the same stereographic image technology that Poppy does, their content plays back in beautiful, full-color, high definition 3D when viewed using Poppy.
When viewed with Poppy, YouTube’s entire catalog of 3D content (movies, movie trailers, music videos and sports clips) renders in full-color, high quality 3D.
You can take pictures with Poppy and have them printed so anyone can see them in 3D, without needing any extra device whatsoever.
You’ve probably seen this before in gift shops, movie posters or cereal boxes. The prints are coated with a thin layer of plastic lenses that makes it so the image shifts as you move the print. You can get a pretty strong 3D effect.
But what makes this interesting is that this will work with pictures of your own life — your kids, your friends.
We’re looking into how we could incorporate this into our app, but at the very least we’ll show how you could do this for yourself.
Poppy as ultra-low-cost VR gaming device
One of the things we’ve heard from a lot of people is that because iOS is the world’s most popular gaming platform, and Poppy is a true 3D video capture and viewing device, game developers could use Poppy to create immersive virtual and augmented reality games.
Imagine a game where you go BASE jumping, or something like Duck Hunt, where the targets are superimposed on the world around you. These kinds of casual virtual reality and augmented reality games seem well suited to Poppy and the iPhone.
You will also be able to make wiggle GIFs directly from Poppy’s iPhone app.
Wiggle GIFs create the illusion of 3D on an ordinary screen. It’s not the same as seeing in 3D with Poppy, but it’s a cool effect.
Because Poppy captures a stereographic pair of images, it’s relatively straightforward to create a wiggle GIF from a picture you take with Poppy. But we thought it would be better if we just built this right into Poppy’s iPhone app.
We hit our $150,000 stretch goal, so now Poppy will come in both a black and a white variety. We don’t have a white prototype, but here are some renderings to give you a sense of what the White Poppy will look like when it’s done.
Have you ever seen stereographic images from the 1800’s? Or played with a Viewmaster? We love the feeling those simple devices give of stepping into another world. But they were all about seeing someone else’s photographs.
Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could create your own immersive 3D scenes like that — but in full-motion video — and share them with friends and around the world over the internet. That’s why we created Poppy.
Poppy brings stereographic imaging into the 21st century! Video! Retina!
The Poppy viewing experience is reminiscent of those Viewmasters you may have used as a kid — but so much more compelling as video and when it’s content that you’ve created yourself.
Since Poppy works by recording two stereographic images in your iPhone’s single camera, any camera or video app you already use — like Camera Plus or Vine — will work with Poppy. Just put the iPhone in Poppy when you take the picture, and view the content with Poppy to see it in 3D.
However, to make things easier, we’re creating a dedicated iOS app for Poppy. It will feature:
Capturing 3D videos and 3D still images
Saving photos and videos to your iPhone’s photo album
Creating wiggle GIFs out of 3D still images
Uploading videos to YouTube
Browsing your own 3D content as well as 3D videos on YouTube
Easy controls and navigation for when your phone is in Poppy
Specifications and Technical Details
Poppy is flexible, and has inserts to accommodate the iPhone 5, 4S, 4 and even the fifth generation iPod Touch (the one with a camera). It’s also designed with the future in mind. We want this to work with the next generation of phones as well, and we’ve left a little extra room in the device to make that possible.
With Poppy, a system of mirrors splits the field of view of the iPhone’s camera, so that it capture two images at once. The mirrors are positioned eye-width apart (the “interpupilary distance”) so that the images represent what is seen by the left and right eye, independently.
The viewer built into Poppy then isolates the images, so your right eye sees the image taken by the right mirror, and the left eye sees the left image. Your brain fuses the two images into a single, three dimensional scene.
Once you have these two images, called a stereo pair, you can reconstruct the original three dimensional scene in number of ways. Anaglyph glasses (like the classic red/blue glasses) are one way.
Peter testing Poppy footage with red/blue 3D glasses
The polarized glasses used in IMAX or Real3D are another. 3D televisions often use glasses that actively present first an image to one eye, then the other. All of these are based around having a stereo pair like the ones generated using Poppy.
So the videos and pictures you create with Poppy can be used anywhere you can see in 3D.
Poppy is made of rugged ABS plastic. It weighs less than a pound. Because it splits the camera’s view, images taken with the device are half the size of your iPhone’s typical photos and videos.