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Medicine Nintendo Games

Nintendo Warns 3D Games Can Ruin Children's Eyes 229

Hugh Pickens writes "Fox News reports that Nintendo has posted a cautionary note on its Japanese website that 'vision of children under the age of six has been said [to be in the] developmental stage,' adding that 3D content 'delivers 3D images with different left and right images, [which] has a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes.' The notice went to say that Nintendo recommends that all viewers take regular breaks while watching 3D video or playing stereoscopic 3D games (google translation). Dr. Michael Ehrenhaus, an ophthalmologist with New York Cornea Consultants, thinks Nintendo and Sony may be getting ahead of themselves with these disclaimers. 'It's hard to say that it'll ruin development,' says Ehrenhaus."
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Nintendo Warns 3D Games Can Ruin Children's Eyes

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  • by anss123 ( 985305 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @09:22PM (#34705996)
    Children can suffer things like "lazy eye" and neither Sony or Nintendo wants to be hit by a lawsuit indicating that their newfangled product was responsible, even if it isn't the case. Thus they preemptively warn about letting developing children use the product.

    It's in a similar vein to how radio enthusiasts set up their antennas unpowered at first so that they can tell "radio sensitives" where to show it.
  • by Oriumpor ( 446718 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @09:32PM (#34706068) Homepage Journal

    Nintendo pulled the Visual Boy because of this effect. I hate the feeling my eyes get while watching isometric 3d projections. It's unnatural, and I swear viewing all those 3d stills when I was a kid with the goggles didn't help.

  • Summary Fail (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @09:36PM (#34706106)

    Fox News reports that Sony has posted a cautionary note on its Japanese website

    Should be:

    Fox News reports that Nintendo has posted a cautionary note on its Japanese website

    Seeing as how this is a Nintendo story and if you read TFA the warning was in fact posted on Nintendo's site.

  • by spazdor ( 902907 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @09:54PM (#34706234)

    There is nothing inherent in 3D that should be problematic. It is, after all, our normal environment, and 2D is what should be problematic.

    This isn't quite correct. In our normal environment, there's a correspondence between the parallax depth of objects (their displacement in the left eye image vs. the right eye image) and their focal depth (the curvature of the cornea required to produce a sharp image on the retina). On any 3D TV/film display, no such correspondence exists.

    In a cinema, the distance to the screen is far enough that this generally isn't a big deal: the rays coming from one point on the screen, by the time they hit your pupil, have diverged along such a narrow angle that they might as well be parallel (as if from an infinitely distant source.) But when you're in a living room with a screen in front of you, it's potentially a much bigger deal. We have plenty of reasons to suppose that the brain 'trains' itself on this depth-correspondence, and exposing kids to a lot of visual stimulus which lacks this correspondence could easily throw a wrench into this training process. We just don't know yet.

  • by purduephotog ( 218304 ) <hirsch&inorbit,com> on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @10:02PM (#34706296) Homepage Journal

    This has been covered half a dozen times yet no one in the media gets it: 3D that is being popularized strains the eyes and messes with the brain. I've yet to see a movie that states you shouldn't drive for 2 hours after watching it to let your depth perception recover- because it has been hacked at with the method of presentation.

    Everyone LOVES 3D that really pops- and to get that level of pop the eyes must be further and further strained outwards. While this is fine for the short term, immediate needs doing it for any length of time is a huge stressor.

    Unfortunately I am at home and don't have any of the papers that were published in the late 80's and 90's about these issues. Sega (damn memory) had a unit that was going to be 3D capable but ended up canning it for a variety of issues- including the health of children. Obviously now adays that isn't a concern and money, as always, comes first.

    I know of some military groups that prohibit their members from operating a vehicle for 8 hours after performing 2-4 hours of stereo work. They must be driven home by a buddy. That's not over-reacting in my opinion.

    Crewmen of submarines must recover their 3D vision after spending so long cooped up with nothing 'far' available to be seen. They're also banned from operating vehicles while in port for some duration.

    Why is it any surprise that a developing brain can be traumatized by seeing something that it wasn't wired to see?

    Go ahead- screw your kids up. Mine won't be. I've got hundreds of other ways to mess them up :)

  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @10:04PM (#34706310) Journal

    There is nothing inherent in 3D that should be problematic.

    I kinda disagree, based on the fact that technical generated 3D is simply a hack for your brain. It is designed to fool your brain into thinking that things that have no depth, have depth. I can see the possibility that it might not be good for developing eyes.

    I remember watching a video in school (late 70s) about a guy who created special headset binoculars that he wore all the time for a week. They made everything upside down, which was humorous and made him have to adjust to walking, etc. He wore them every waking hour. Within a week, his brain had adjusted and flipped the image, so now with the headgear, everything was now right side up. Once he quit using them, obviously, everything was back to upside down, and it took a couple of weeks to get back to "right". This experiment is exactly parallel to what we are talking about: hacking the brain to see something differently. The experiment didn't go as far as exploring long term effects, if any, this had on the adult volunteer. What it did prove, however, is that you can force the brain to change your visual perception in a semi-permanent way. It caused a real physical change in the brain.

    Any time you go hacking into things, there are unforeseen consequences. Saying to be cautious and don't let kids use it is likely a good idea until we better understand the possible side effects. It isn't like abstaining from 3D is going to hurt a 4 year old.

  • by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @12:00AM (#34707060)

    It's not over-cautiousness. This issue has been known for some time.

    Children under about 10-12 shouldn't be exposed to any artificial stereoscopy as it can cause developmental impairment. Whether it's used for games is beside the point - movies and television pose the same risk. Really, any use of stereoscopy to create the illusion of 3D. The technology imperfectly replicates real visual stimuli from a 3D environment. Exposing children to it, particularly regularly or for long sessions, can cause the brain to try and adapt to the wrong set of stimuli.

    Watching Avatar in 3D once is probably okay but should probably be avoided. Watching movies in 3D every weekend is probably bad. Using a 3DS daily for several hours at a time is probably going to cause some degree of harm. Gaming tends to long sessions, frequent use, and attentive focus.

  • by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @12:04AM (#34707086)
    Also, note that it's not "3D" itself that's the problem. We look at the real world all the time, right? The problem is that the methods used to create the illusion of 3D do not completely mimic the real thing. Stereoscopy is something of a first step. There has been research into systems which do a more complete job, and they can significantly cut down on things like headaches and simulator sickness. We'll probably see this in our consumer electronics one day, but all modern consumer 3D display technology has these issues.

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