Thursday, June 30, 2011

Home 3D Imaging Without The Glasses

There are a variety of ways to view 3D images and videos depending on how the media content was created.
  • A pair of color films, one for the left eye and one for the right eye then optics to direct each of the to each eye. The viewing aparatus is fashioned like a binocular like those View Master toys.
  • 3D glasses where one lens is tinted blue and the other is tinted red. This is common in children's books.
  • Passive polarized 3D glasses like the ones used in SM 3D cinemas, Enchanted Kingdom 4D Theater and the IMAX theater in Mall of Asia.
  • Active shutter 3D glasses like those used in Sony, LG and Samsung LCD and LED backlit LCD TVs.
  • Holograms such as the authentication logo stickers on credit cards of Visa/Mastercard, Nokia batteries and HP ink refills.
  • Lenticular screens with a parallax barrier that splits images for the left and right eye like those used in the Nintendo 3DS and HTC Evo 3D. 
There's another method that you can use and play around with at home. No fancy gadget needed. See the samples below.

This is an old photo taken in the 16th infantry camp in the Philippines a long time ago. It is a good photograph but you can make it even better. Turn it to 3D !

Old Phil - Norm

The photo above is actually a scan of an old stereographic card that was originally taken using a stereoscopic camera (a kind of old camera with two lens separated the same distance as the human eye). A special apparatus was then used to view the two images simultaneously in the stereographic cards similar to what View Master toys do.

Old Phil - Stereo

But there's another way to view these stereoscopic cards without a need for fancy gadgets. It is called wiggle spectroscophy. To demonstrate, I combined the two images above and came up with this image where you can have a feel of the depth of the image and gives more umph to the old photograph.

It resembles that Matrix movie look on the scene when Trinity jumped and made her Karate Kid pose as time slowed down. This effect made my jaw drop the first time I saw it. You can do this at home using an ordinary camera or cellphone by taking multiple photos of the subject at slightly different angles then merging them like what I did with the wiggle 3D images below.

If you happen to see me taking photos while kinda dancing left and right, you may have just caught me framing my next wiggle 3D photo.

This wiggly stuff can be made easier. If current 3D gadgets like the Nintendo 3DS and HTC Evo develop an app that process the 3D image taken by the 3D camera to generate the wiggle image automatically.

A level higher in gadget development would be to combine the motion sensing algorithm of the XBox Kinect and the front facing camera of today's phones plus an app that tracks the user's head then adjusts the wiggle image displayed on the screen correspondingly. With this in place, you can take a slight peek of what's behind an image simply by tilting your head.

Of course for hard core photography, you can buy a Loreo 3D Lens in a Cap that fit popular DSLR cameras. Costs $93 to $150. Or buy a Fuji Finepix Real 3D camera, a Minoru 3D webcam. CD-R King displayed a 3D webcam a few months ago. or any of the soon to be released 3D smartphones and tablets such as the LG Optimus 3D, HTC Evo 3D or LG Optimus Pad 3D.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lytro: Picture Revolution

It it not often that a technology comes along that has huge impact to the industry and to consumers - what we call as "the best thing since sliced bread."

Before sliced bread there was the invention of the wheel. Then some notable disruptive technologies after sliced bread are pasteurization, the internet, iPhone/iPad and now... Lytro.

What's so special about Lytro? It completely changes how we do photography since the word photography was coined and the camera device was invented. Up to now what we do to take a picture is point on the selected subject, focus manually or automatically, then press a button to capture the image. Lytro makes the focusing step obsolete during picture taking. You just shoot without care using a Lytro camera. What's great about it is that all images taken looks like it was taken by an SLR camera with a shallow depth of field (DOF) lens. When you view the image at home, you can select which part of the photo is focused and its background and foreground automatically becomes blurred. Then click again on another part of the photo then the image will re-focus automatically. No need for editing in PhotoShop or Picasa to get that blur effect. This is what I call "a true point and shoot camera" unlike today's camera that are actually "point and focus and shoot camera."

Shown below is a single shot taken with a Lytro camera veiwed depending on what part of the image you want to be in focus. Clicking on the tip of the spear results to the image on the left while clicking on the person produces the image on the right. No editing needed - the picture is fully interactive - just click any part of the image then the focus immediately changes to it.


Go to their website and browse the picture gallery. Each photo you find there are interactive Lytro images. Just click on an area of a photo and observe with mouth open what happens. I bet even Steve Jobs himself will call this "magical."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chick-Boy Chicken and Baboy

While passing by GMA Cavite a few weeks back, I saw an eye catching restaurant being constructed called Chick-Boy. So when it opened, we were there a few days later. I love Cebu and Iligan lechon baboy. I haven't found that same lechon experience in Luzon where the meat is tender and tasty without a need for a lechon sauce - I call it the autonomous lechon. The love and quest for that kind of lechon brought us to Chick-Boy. Their lechon are roasted as meat slabs, not as whole pigs. Served as cutlets of crispy lechon with rice wrapped in banana leaves.


The meat has that saltiness and flavor that goes well with the vinegar sauce that comes with it. This is the style of eating lechon down south (Visayas and Mindanao).


All tables have a bottle of the sweet lechon liver sauce that's popular in Luzon and a bottle of crispy garlic so no problem making your own garlic rice.


Chick-Boy's lechon is closer to the lechon Cebu taste than what other Cebu lechon stalls you find out there. Now I have a go to place whenever I crave for lechon.

An order of a soup dish pairs well with lechon and rice. In our first visit we tried a bowl of batchoy.


For dessert we tried their leche flan and turones de leche. I though the turones de leche was some sort of fried Mazapan sweets called turones. But they were actually mini turon - thus the name turones. It's made of long strips of banana wrapped in turon wrapper to about the same size as your average lumpia shanghai, deep fried then served with some kind of gooey yema dip. Sarap! I'll have these again for sure the next time.


Next visit I'll have their lechon manok and sample their other soup dishes.

There are three Chick-Boy restaurants along Governor's drive in Cavite. One in GMA where we ate, another one is under construction in Manggahan, General Trias and another one will soon rise in Terraza of Robinsons Dasmarinas.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pinoy Shabu-Shabu

Written by Lilia B. Unite

I have been staying away from shabu-shabu for quite sometime after my funny experience years ago in Chengdu, China:

It was already late at night when I went out with one of my colleagues for dinner. Most of the restaurants we saw were selling unfamiliar Chinese cuisines. We were a little bit relieved when we saw an English Shabu-Shabu restaurant sign. Unfortunately, their menu were all in Chinese without any picture to give us a clue what they mean. None of their staffs knew how to speak English. After 15 minutes of struggling with charades and pictionary style communication, we decided to just let the waitress order for us. Confused on what we wanted and to be safe, she ordered all of the possible ingredients available leaving my friend and I with a table full of familiar and exotic raw foods enough to feed an army battalion and enough for me not to crave for shabu-shabu for a long time.

Then came last week when we passed by the newly opened Seferino shabu-shabu restaurant in Robinson’s Dasmarinas.


Seferino’s ambiance was quiet and not smelly unlike other shabu-shabu restaurants I went to. It’s a great place to go for chit chat while having a good meal. On top of shabu-shabu, they also offer different Asian and Filipino cuisines. If you are ordering other meals, their shabu-shabu solo will be enough for two persons to share.

One thing I like about having shabu-shabu is seeing your food prepared and cooked in front of you and the variety of ingredients you can choose from.



At Seferino, they have a pre-selected set of ingredients when you order shabu-shabu that's a combination of seafoods like fish, squid, shrimp, squid balls, crab meat mixed with strips of thinly sliced pork, beef and lots of green pechay and cabbage. It's a good break from the typical fried foods we eat in fast food restos.


Surprisingly, my picky eater daughter liked it too. This prompted me to create our home made version of shabu-shabu using common ingredients in our kitchen.

Lucky Me Pork Ribs Instant Noodles
Fresh pork bacon cuts
Squid balls
Sweet corn
Tomato (whole or big slices)
Banana (the variety for cooking)
Soy sauce (depending on how you like the soup base to taste)

1. Prepare all the ingredients and place them in a platter.


2. Prepare the soup base by mixing Lucky Me Pork Ribs seasoning mix in boiling water. Set aside the noodles for now. You can use the noodles as alternative for shabu-shabu noodle if you don’t have any. Add soy sauce to taste. Let it boil for 1-2 minutes.


3. Put the meat, squid balls, siomai and corn and let it boil. When they're half cooked, add in the sliced carrots and banana.


4. When almost done, lower the heat and add in the noodles, tomato, pechay and cabbage then simmer for 2 minutes. Do not overcook the vegetables. Then serve immediately and enjoy eating.