RESEARCHERS at Scotland’s oldest university, St Andrews, have come up with a new way of looking at 3D images without the need for big cinema-style specs.

They have come up with eye-tracking software to provide a unique technique which allows the viewer to focus in and out of different areas in a photograph. Using a depth-of-field camera to take the initial images, the team found a way to use the eye-tracker to follow their gaze and focus on the specific part of the image.

Michael Mauderer, researcher in the school of computer science at St Andrews, explained: “Right now we can provide 3D by wearing glasses which provide a different image for each eye, however, some people simply cannot perceive 3D in this way and others report a feeling of sickness. This is an alternative way of make a more natural-feeling 3D effect.”

Similar effects exist in computer gaming but this is the first time they have been created using real photographic images. The technique could also be combined with existing 3D technology.

The system is limited to individual viewers, most likely people using computer screens, rather than television, as screens are unable to show different views to different people watching at the same time.

Entertainment is expected to be the main use for the technique, which could potentially revolutionise the way we view images.