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After the successful development of our first ever 3D Eyewear, further improvements to our 3D Eyewear became the new objective of our team of dedicated developers.
Fans of 3D television will no doubt increase in number if the experience of viewing 3D were to become more pleasant. One of the keys to making this happen is the ease with which 3D Eyewear can be worn. Panasonic has enabled the evolution of 3D Eyewear made exclusively for VIERA 3D TV.*1 There are now three size options and the glasses now weigh 40% less compared to older glasses.*2 In particular, the S size unit is the lightest pair in the world*3. The story behind the development of 3D Eyewear was related to me by developers Yuya Tanaka, Masanori Mizutani, and Norikazu Kaneshiro.
Tanaka: "We went to listen to what a manufacturer of glasses had to say for this purpose. The topics ranged from structural matters about the center of gravity for easy-to-wear glasses, the strength of the lenses, and the shape of nose pads to the methods of use in terms of the average number of times someone might wipe their glasses in a single day. At any rate, since we wanted to create easy-to-use 3D Eyewear, we studied the glasses so thoroughly that there was in the end nothing about them that we didn't know."
Tanaka: "To allow these glasses to fit any face regardless of size, we wanted to incorporate flexibility in terms of the changeability of the form of the temples that support these glasses. We adopted a special form with a gap between the lenses and the temples as proposed by our designers. Because the form is easy to vary, these glasses can even be worn over regular eyeglasses. In this way, we came up with a universal design."
Tanaka: "We tested the strength, reviewed the structure in painstaking detail together with designers, monitored feedback on comfort on a worldwide basis, and coordinated production lines. As the various tasks were being carried out in tandem, a single issue at some locus point would have brought all processes grinding to a halt. After overcoming a succession of difficulties, we finally managed to produce our first generation of glasses."
Development is the pursuit of continuous evolution. Work on developing a second generation of glasses began immediately after Panasonic's first generation of 3D Eyewear was fully conceived and brought to life by Yuya Tanaka, Norikazu Kaneshiro, and other engineers. The responsibility for the structural design was transferred from Yuya Tanaka to Masanori Mizutani, who, along with Norikazu Kaneshiro, eagerly accepted the challenge of incorporating further advancements into 3D Eyewear.
Mizutani: "For our second generation of glasses, we increased the number of available sizes to three—small, medium, and large—and then fully pursued ways to make our glasses more lightweight. The appeal of 3D lies in the ability to savor the sensation of being immersed in the video image. Thus, the perception that a pair of 3D Eyewear is heavy tends to impede the viewer's immersion into video image."
Mizutani: "Furthermore, we also reduced the thickness of the temples to make the glasses even lighter. The key to ensuring comfort lay in the flexure of the temples. Regardless of the size of the head, these glasses will not pinch the head or slide off. In order to determine the optimal form factor for these glasses, we produced many prototypes and modified the flexure of the temples in tiny increments.
Mizutani: "For instance, the ears of a child are lower than the ears of an adult. Thus, the temples for a small pair of glasses are relatively more level with the lenses than for a medium or large pair of glasses. We took into account the age of the users when designing new structures corresponding to the different sizes that we would make available."
Mizutani: "In terms of structure, each lens consists of a layer of liquid crystal sandwiched between two layers of glass. To make the lenses lighter, we want to make the glass layers as thin as possible. Through repeated drop tests and other tests, we were able to make these lenses thinner without compromising strength."
Kaneshiro: "We also replaced the push-type switch on our earlier model with a slide-type switch. We believe that this made it easier to tell if the power is on or not."
Mizutani: "The form of the nose pad differs depending on whether you are in Asia or in North America. This is due to differences in the shape of the nose among different groups of people. We sent prototypes to employees working at some of our overseas offices and had them assess comfort. Through this survey, we gratefully received evaluation reports in very short order. The fact that Panasonic employs people the world over certainly proved to be advantageous for our purposes."
Mizutani: "I believe that our job is to make easy-to-use glasses and expand the fan base for 3D television."
Underpinning the pleasure and wonder of watching 3D video is the accumulation of immeasurable amounts of effort, ideas, and conviction on the part of our engineers. The era of 3D television for home viewing began this year. We invite you to eagerly anticipate the advancements in 3D that will surely be brought to you by our engineers in the years to come.
* The photos and information of 3D Eyewear on this page are for models that were being marketed at the time of the interview.
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