Fast Company

Hey, Hef? Sharp's Smartphone Cam's Got Your 3-D Playboy Urges Covered

Sharp 3D camSharp's got a new mini camera module ready to be crow-barred into the tiny spaces inside cell phones. But it's no ordinary camera unit. It's 3-D capable, chaps. Sexters and armchair Hugh Hefner wannabes just got their killer tech.

Sharp notes that its diminutive sliver of plastic and chips is an "industry first," as it's not only capable of 3-D image recording, but also can shoot half-HDTV footage in 720p resolutions. The three-dimensional component works like many current and upcoming 3-D imaging systems, by having two camera units displaced horizontally to capture slightly different stereoscopic images of the scene in front of them, kind of how your eyeballs work. Supporting two cameras required Sharp to beef up the on-unit processing to cope with the higher data rates, and there're also a few extra high-tech gems like color synchronizing, to make sure both cameras capture similar-looking imagery and fast-readout tech so that the unit can actually cope with capturing those high-resolution 720p videos in 3-D too.

At first, you'll probably see this tech in more digital cameras--making the most of the nascent consumer 3-D imaging industry, which is evolving slowly as more and more 3-D-capable TVs and PC monitors hit the scene. But then you can expect to see it in smartphones from manufacturers who are desperate to get their chunks of high-tech trickery distinguished among the crowd of ever-similar devices. And will it work? It might, you know. 3-D is it, baby! Sharp is clearly down with the kids ... and ready to supply exactly the tech needed to improve the excitement for next-gen sexting videos. Heck, even Hugh Hefner has managed to crack the crusty cocoon around his person to express enthusiasm about having a 3-D Playmate literally *ahem* popping out of the pages of Playboy.

Whatever happens, this tech is on its way soon: Sharp's going to get samples shipping by July, and will chug into mass production this year.

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