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Adapting analog stereoscopic images for use in the Oculus Go

Dorothy Ogdon, MSIS, AHIP
Assistant Professor | Emerging Technologies Librarian
University of Alabama at Birmingham Libraries

Invented in 1838 as a tool for investigating theories of vision1, the stereoscope is sometimes described as an early virtual reality tool. In the years following its invention, the stereoscope and stereoscopic photography were adapted and developed as a tool for popular entertainment. At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the collections of the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences include a stereoscope and an accompanying collection of medical stereoscopic images published by Dr. S.I. Rainforth in 1910.

Stereoscope
Photograph of stereoscope accessioned into the collections of the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences by Stefanie Rookis Crumpton in 1999.
Stereoscopic image card - front
Scan of Eczema Chronicum Volae Manus stereoscopic image card. Scan provided by Stefanie Rookis Crumpton, Curator, Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences in May 2019.
Stereoscopic image card - back
Reverse of Eczema Chronicum Volae Manus stereoscopic image card. Scan provided by Stefanie Rookis Crumpton, Curator, Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences in May 2019.

The purpose of this project was to explore methods for adapting images originally created for use in the analog stereoscope for contemporary virtual reality headsets. Using an online tutorial2 and introductory training materials for the Unity3 virtual reality development environment, we were able to successfully adapt scanned images from three stereoscopic images cards for use in an Oculus Go4 headset. The images displayed in this demonstration include stereoscopic photographs of eczema, variola, and scabies. We hope to add more features to future iterations of this project, including a larger number of images, improved lighting, script for selecting and switching images, and multiple access routes for the printed information that accompanies each image.

Download the Virtual Reality Application for Oculus Go

For more information on the technology, contact Dorothy Ogden at dogdon@uab.edu.

For more information about the stereoscope and cards, contact Stefanie Crumpton at scrumpton@uab.edu.

Related Resources and Tutorials

1 Pingree GB, Gitelman L. New Media, 1740–1915. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press; 2003. http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy3.lhl.uab.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=100062&site=ehost-live. Accessed November 12, 2019.

2 Abdulezer L. Rendering Stereoscopic Images and Videos for Your VR Scenes in Unity. December 14, 2015. https://www.evolvingtech.com/for-teknowgeeks/rendering-stereoscopic-images-and-videos-for-your-vr-scenes-in-unity. Accessed November 10th, 2019.

3 Unity. Accessed November 10th, 2019. https://unity.com/

4 Oculus Go Developer Center. Accessed November 10th, 2019. https://developer.oculus.com/go/?locale=en_US

University of Alabama at Birmingham Libraries, Organizational Information

Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences

Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, Virtual Reality Studio

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