We have seen a wave of augmented reality apps that are enabled by mobile devices with a back facing camera. Now a French research group has found an out there application for the front facing camera of the iPad 2. The Engineering Human-Computer Interaction Research Group uses the iPad camera for head tracking. A software uses this information to render virtual 3D spaces in different perspectives. I have tested a similar setup at a trade-show and it worked pretty well.
The 3D effect should be better than on the Nintendo 3DS as the display knows where you are looking. Right now this glasses-free 3D display for the iPad 2 is just a research app, but it is quite possible that we will see a big wave of 3D apps like we have seen with the augmented reality apps.
Below is a video that demonstrates the glasses-free 3D iPad 2 hack. Of course the 3D effect can not be transported through the video, but it gives you an idea.
About the Apple iPad:
Apple launched the first iPad on April 3rd 2010. Until the iPad came along Tablets never caught on. The iPad was a runaway success at launch that even surprised Apple. The company had to postpone the international launch of the iPad to satisfy demand in the United States.
The original iPad surprised everyone with a low entry price of $499. This low price proved to be the major hurdle for competitors trying offer a similar performing tablet at the same price.
Features of the first generation iPad include 1GHz A4 CPU, PowerVR SGX 535 GPU, 9.7-inch LED-backlit touchscreen display with IPS technology, 10 hour battery life, 16GB to 64GB Storage options, 256MB RAM, 802.11n Wi-fi and 3G option.
The original iPad has a weight of 1.5 pounds and it measures 9.56x7.47x.5 inches. The first iPad owners had to wait a very long time for multi-tasking until iOS 4.2 was released in November 2010. iPhone owners had that update months earlier.
Apple started selling the iPad 2 on March 11th in the United States. The new iPad 2 is about 1/3rd thinner than the first iPad and adds two cameras. Other new features of the iPad 2 include the new faster dual-core A5 CPU and the 9x faster PowerVR SGX543MP GPU. Measurements of the iPad 2 are 9.5x7.31x0.34 inches and the weight is 1.33 pounds. The iPad 2 is available in the United States as Wi-Fi only, AT&T 3G and new as a Verizon 3G version. Additionally the iPad 2011 is available in black and in white. The demand for the iPad 2 at launch led to long lines in stores even weeks after the sales started. Online orders of the iPad 2 take about one month to ship.
The prices for the Apple iPad models are $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. The Wi-Fi + 3G iPad models will be available in April in the US and selected countries for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model.
More important for the success of the iPad is the software. iOS still outshines other Tablet OSes in terms of ease of use. The Apple eco-system (iTunes) with music, movies and apps completes the experience that draws millions of consumers to the iPad. Get the latest iPad news in our Apple Hub.