More 3D Health Concerns

French Health Regulators Issue 3D Guidelines

3D_lThe market’s reaction to the generally gimmicky 3D immersive experiences in consumer electronics have been rather disappointing, with varied implementations falling flat and limited success in televisions, portable game consoles and handsets. The 3D-like effects offered in Amazon’s Fire Phone, for example, are unlikely to have driven any net positive sales.

For device makers considering implementing 3D in their product, this official warning from France’s Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) might help in the decision-making process: children below the age of six should have no exposure to 3D content and children below the age of 13 should only have moderate access to 3D technologies. The French report states that viewing 3D films and games affect children’s visual development — the requirement to focus on two copies of the same image simultaneously causes conflicts in the brain.

CCS Insight has long believed that 3D in handsets and other mobile devices would always be a tough sell (see 3D phones? Here’s the tech that never took off). Handset makers continue to evaluate 3D display technologies despite several market failures, but the news of health concerns should cause makers to look closely at the target market for such products.

The French recommendation is not the first concerning the use of 3D-enabled products by children. Italian health officials issued guidelines for the use of 3D products by children back in 2010, and the Italian Ministry of Health has researched complaints of visually induced motion sickness caused by watching 3D movies, an ailment now termed “3D vision syndrome”.

These 3D displays have long had the potential to allow device makers to stand out among their competitors, but the feature always seems to face some sort of setback. The real issue has mostly been limited consumer interest, but we now wonder if upcoming virtual and augmented reality technologies will get their own warning signs. Head-mounted displays and other near-eye displays, for example, could face resistance.

New display technologies could be something for the market to look forward to, but it’s worth noting the hardware views of health officials.