In 1952, Bwana Devil, a film about two man-eating lions, became the first 3-D feature film to hit theaters. How far we've come: Improved technology, wider availability, and Avatar have ignited a 3-D revolution. How far we've not come: Those glasses are still mostly hideous and uncomfortable.
Paper frames aren't extinct — Tennessee-based American Paper Optics still stamps out 150 million a year, for everything from Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue to the Michael Jackson tribute at the Grammys — but the 3-D-obsessed can now opt for something more durable and flattering. Australia's Look3D is introducing spectacles that mimic designer frames as well as a handmade "directors collection." "We'll be using this technology for the next 10 years," says Rhett Adam, director of product development for Look3D. "As 3-D moves into the home, consumers will want their own frames."
Paper and plastic, here are some of our favorites.
These three frames come from Look3D's designer collection ($25). For snobs, handmade directors collection frames are $100 per pair.
RealD's frames, all in black, are made for, from top, adults and kids (for cinema handouts) and professional use ($450 per pair, for medical research or product design).
AMERICAN PAPER OPTICS 3dglassesonline.com
These paper glasses cost pennies to manufacture. If you really want to buy some, you can get a pair for 40 cents — but you have to purchase at least 50.
Click here for slideshow (Stylish 3-D Glasses).
A version of this article appeared in the May 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.