Review: Hasbro My3D turns iPhone into 3-D cinema

Apr 07, 2011 By BARBARA ORTUTAY , AP Technology Writer
Review: Hasbro My3D turns iPhone into 3-D cinema (AP)
A Hasbro My3D is shown in this photo, in New York Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP) -- Nintendo just launched the 3DS, a handheld game device with a 3-D screen. But you don't need to spend $249 for 3-D gaming on the go: $35 will do. That's the price of an attachment Hasbro is selling that adds depth to the screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Unfortunately, the Hasbro My3D isn't a slim pair of glasses. It looks more like a weird set of toy binoculars. You snap the Apple device into a holder on one end and look through the other.

It's a fun diversion aimed mostly at kids. It can wow grown-ups too, but I'm not sure anyone will use this much in the long run. It's hardly $35 worth of plastic, but it might be $35 worth of entertainment.

The roots of the My3D go way back: it's basically a slight update of the stereoscope, which was first demonstrated in 1851. This two-lens device delighted Victorians with still 3-D photos of landscapes. The View-Master is another later-day successor to the stereoscope.

The View-Master, of course, never worked with applications and movies, but the My3D does. It's used with specially written apps like as "Sharks," which immerses users in a shark-filled underwater scene, and "Sector 17," an outer-space shooter. These are all free to download for now from the iTunes Store, though Hasbro does plan to start charging for some of them later this spring. Until June, the viewers are only available from Target stores.

To start, I downloaded a free app called My3Dpresents, which serves as a sort of introduction. The app includes trailers for My3D games and six current and upcoming 3-D movies, including "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Megamind" and "Smurf'd." (However, Hasbro Inc. hasn't promised that full 3-D movies will be available.)

To reach the iPhone's touch screen, you insert your thumbs into two holes at the bottom of the My3D. But many of the games also use the phone's . I played a simple little game called "Bubble Bolt," which has you tilting the to guide a goldfish inside a bubble through increasingly complex obstacle courses and into a pond waiting at the end. To my co-workers, this must have been a sight - I was looking into a pair of binoculars with no lenses while bobbing and tilting my head to control something only I could see. In "Sector 17," attacking spaceships can come from any angle, so I had to twist and turn on my swivel chair to look up, down and behind me.

This aspect of the game was perhaps even more engaging than the apparent depth of the screen, which I had some trouble perceiving. Like many people, my 3-D vision isn't perfect because of an eye condition, but I had an easier time enjoying the My3D than a 3-D movie in a theater.

On my iPhone 3GS, the images were a bit pixelated. That's because the My3D presents two side-by-side images on the screen, one for each eye. This halves the apparent resolution of the screen. The iPhone 4 and the latest version of the iPod Touch have higher-resolution displays, so the image in the My3D stays crisp and clear - clearer, in fact, than that on the Nintendo 3DS screen in 3-D mode.

That said, the two devices are in different leagues and neither serves to replace the other. The Nintendo 3DS, which went on sale in the U.S. last month, has a 3-D camera and comes with controls for far more complex games than the My3D can play. None of the My3D games held my admittedly short attention span for very long, but I'd be curious to see what else developers will come up with. Later this summer, Nintendo plans to start streaming Netflix content to the 3DS.

Sprint Nextel Corp., AT&T Inc. and others are planning to sell smartphones with 3DS-style screens soon, so Hasbro's My3D might be a short-lived novelty. Until then, though, it's worth a shot, especially if you don't mind looking a little comical peering into a plastic viewfinder navigating 3-D worlds visible only to you. For subway rides and dentist offices, it's probably best to stick to "Angry Birds" and other 2-D games.

Explore further: Gift Guide: Strong photo, video gear options

2.4 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

AT&T to sell phone with 3-D screen and camera

Mar 21, 2011

(AP) -- Hot on the heels of the Nintendo 3DS game device and its 3-D screen, AT&T plans to launch a smartphone with a 3-D screen and a dual-lens camera for 3-D snapshots.

Nintendo 3DS to cost $250, out March 27 in US

Jan 19, 2011

Promising to usher in a new era in 3-D entertainment, Nintendo says its glasses-free handheld 3DS will go on sale on March 27 in the U.S. for $250. That's the same price that the revolutionary Wii console ...

Nintendo ready to take 3-D gaming to mass market

Mar 28, 2011

(AP) -- With the Nintendo 3DS, the Japanese video game company is betting that it can once again nudge mass entertainment in a new direction, just as it did nearly five years ago when it launched the Wii ...

Recommended for you

Ear-check via phone can ease path to diagnosis

23 hours ago

Ear infections are common in babies and young children. That it is a frequent reason for young children's visit to doctors comes as no consolation for the parents of babies tugging at their ears and crying ...

Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

Dec 18, 2014

Do you really need an app to tell you to brush and floss? It seems every household appliance is getting some smarts these days, meaning some connection to a phone app and the broader Internet. But then what?

BlackBerry launches Classic in last-ditch effort

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new phone that features a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones—and most smartphone customers—have embraced touch screens.

Tag Heuer changes tune, now looking at smartwatches

Dec 16, 2014

Barely a few months after dismissing Apple's smartwatch, the new chief executive of luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer conceded Tuesday that such a hi-tech gadget might after all have a place in his firm's ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Husky
not rated yet Apr 07, 2011
i even remember an old shootout arcade machine of the 80's that had a viewfinder that had you peering to 2 different angles of the same western saloon scene, no pixels, instead cardboard characters mevchanically popped up in sync as the bad and good guys, both scenes were lit by blacklight and the figures painted in screaming orange, green, cyanide, bright white colours, it was fun and innovative at that time
Quantum_Conundrum
3 / 5 (4) Apr 07, 2011
Excellent, someone is starting to get it.

You don't need specialized gaming machines when you have an iphone or other smartphone, since they also have USB ports. You can add any attachment to these things, anything.

Medical
gaming
work-related
science instruments
robotics
anything
6_6
not rated yet Apr 09, 2011
Brings back the nostalgia of Nintendo Virtual-Boy (or vomit-migraine-inducing-Boy for those older than 30)
insignificant_fish
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011
i have been doing this for years with a pair of dollar store 3+ reading glasses.
icesterftl
not rated yet Apr 25, 2011
There are other devices which will do the same and more:

Like jps3Dmax

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.