Special lens attachment helps regular cellphones take 3D pics and vids

Wanna take fancy 3D pictures without buying cameras and gadgets with dual-cameras? A fancy little attachment for your cellphone camera with twin apertures and mirrors might help your pics "pop" without investing in expensive new equipment.

Developed by 3D researcher Wallen Mphepö at the Beijing Normal University, the attachment is placed over a cellphone camera's lens. The gadget's twin apertures are then able to guide light through a red and cyan filter directly to the phone's camera lens using two mirrors. The good news is the stereoscopic image that's created can be visible on 3D screens with and without 3D glasses.

The bad news is that because the 3D image is essentially captured through a single lens — its image then split into two — the image resolution is shaved in half. That might be a big deal to serious shutterbugs, but Mphepö says in exchange for 3D, most people won't really mind the lower quality pic.

The 3D attachment is currently a prototype and has yet to be miniaturized in volume for mass production, but Mphepö says the ultimate goal is to have the twin aperture and mirror gizmo built into a cellphone camera. Talk with manufacturers in Beijing are said to be underway.

As long as it's cheap, we could care less if it's built into cellphones or not. Truth be told, we think it'd actually be better if Mphepö sold the gizmo as an attachment. It would give cellphone users the option of when and when not to shoot 3D media.

Wallen Mphepö, via New Scientist

For the latest tech stories, follow us on Twitter at @dvice