Sharp said Wednesday that it developed a 3D camera module for mobile devices capable of capturing 720p 3D video images. Samples will start shipping in July, with mass production taking effect by the end of the year. Although many manufacturers are currently researching and refining 3D technology for mobile use, Sharp's announcement marks an industry first, following its recent debut of a 3D parallax barrier display that doesn't require special glasses.
According to Sharp, the 3D camera will consist of two lenses, each capturing the individual viewpoint of the associated eye simultaneously. The device processes the data supplied by the lenses using Color Synchronizing (to adjust color and brightness), Timing Synchronizing (to keep the two video feeds in sync), and Optical Axis Control to correct positioning. The camera's Fast Readout Technology provides the HD aspect, rapidly transferring video data from the image sensor.
While other manufacturers are fumbling around to get their 3D cameras into a compact state, Sharp made it possible by applying high-density technology "nurtured over long years of experience in camera module development" to achieve its current form factor. Sharp also said that the camera is geared towards digital cameras, mobile phones, and smartphones, allowing for the development of a "wide range of new, innovative communications tools."
Wednesday's Sharp announcement also triggered rumors in the gaming industry, hinting that Sharp's 3D camera module could find its way onto the upcoming Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming platform. The idea isn't far-fetched given the relationship between Sharp and Nintendo, however the 3DS may need a special adapter and/or app to use this device when released. Again, this is merely speculation, however the 3DS was merely speculation for quite some time.