The holidays are upon us and video games and their consoles are flying off the shelf. Maybe you got someone a new PSP, maybe Santa is bringing you one, or maybe you are one of the millions who already have one. Whatever the case, there is a great new item hitting shelves soon that will greatly enhance your PSP enjoyment. We are joined by Catherine Ansbro, Executive Director at RealView Innovations.
Catherine thank you so much for joining us, how did you guys come up with the idea for the V-Screen?
RealView’s two key optical engineers had done a lot of experimenting with various 3D systems for medical and scientific uses. They found other systems to be bulky, expensive and uncomfortable to use. Being highly creative folks, RealView’s engineers started doing some highly unconventional things to various optical components, and they found a new way to enhance the depth cues that were already present in 2D images. They used a completely different technical approach that was easy to use and that could be produced affordably for a range of high-volume consumer products.
There were quite a few technical challenges to adapt our technology for the PSP. The development process took us longer than expected. (And we were distracted exploring the many things our technology could achieve, such as home cinema projection with enhanced depth.) But since we loved the PSP’s excellent screen quality (high brightness and resolution), and because PSP games have such outstanding graphics with lots of depth cues, we kept at it. The PSP is an excellent match for RealView’s technology.
Because of the range of devices for other applications that are coming soon, RealView decided to release its products with its own branding instead of going through an established game accessory company. We want people to get to know RealView Innovations Ltd. for its creativity in giving an exciting new visual experience, for technical excellence, and for proving unique, affordable products and technology. We’re proud of being an Irish company and for having a product that’s manufactured in Ireland.
What was the development process like? How many people worked on it?
The development process involved coordination between our R&D facilities in Ireland and Scotland. We do a lot of traveling! A lot of work went into the optical specifications for this unique application. Because the V-Screen has the added advantage of a protective case, and because gamers need to access the controls with ease, the screen was raised up above the level of the PSP screen. This presented certain technical challenges so the viewer would get the best depth effect, have the right image size, and have a well-made product that is lightweight, easy-to-use, affordable and unique.
We had to identify the right suppliers for key components—some in Europe, some in USA, some in Asia. In the final development stage we worked closely with our manufacturing partners, Hasbro Ireland Ltd. The assembly process involves special steps that take place in a clean room, and that place special demands on the components.
We also had to protect our Intellectual Property by filing patent applications. (We’ve already got patents approved in Ireland and Japan, and a European patent is also due to be issued shortly. We’ve also got application on file for USA, Korea and China. Our 2 principal optical engineers were assisted by 4 other RealView staff members who played an active role in the product development. We also got some focus group feedback in USA, UK and Japan, which helped us to further improve the optical depth effect.
Does it work for all models of the PSP?
The V-Screen works for the PSP 1000, 2000 and 3000 and “Slim” series (everything before the PSP Go). All the important functions are easily accessible. The V-Screen comes with a specially-designed silicone cushion that ensures the right fit for the 2000, 3000 and slim models. We’ll make a special accessory for the PSP Go later this year.
How does it work?
The V-Screen uses several special optical components. Their function is altered during the assembly process that takes place in Waterford, Ireland. As a result lots more depth cues are presented to the user’s eyes and brain than they would otherwise pick up. Therefore they get a lot more “depth” out of the visual cues that are in the 2D/3D graphics in their existing games or videos. RealView uses optics to get more information to the brain.
Some of us feel that our own depth perception capability has improved from using this technology, and some people in the medical area have said that this has potential benefits.
What is the next project for RealView?
We’re developing two large accessory screens to fit 22″ and 42″ TVs or displays, and we’ll have these “Deep Screens” on show at our CES booth in Las Vegas in January. They attach flush to the display, and provide the same exciting enhanced-depth experience for watching games, sports, movies or TV programs. We’re hoping to launch them in time for the soccer World Cup in South Africa in June.
In the games area we’re looking closely at developing accessories for the Nintendo DSiXL and the Sony PSP Go. Some recent technical breakthroughs mean that we’ll also be talking to some major technology companies about integrating our enhanced-depth technology into notebook computers, cell phones, and other devices.
The great thing about RealView’s breakthrough technology is that you get such great results using your existing content. You get more from games, music videos, DVDs and TV programs that you already have, and you don’t need a special tv or monitor. There’s no special software, electronics or configuration. You slip the Deep Screen onto your monitor or TV (or you pop your PSP into your V-Screen) and you’re ready to go!
Catherine Ansbro, thank you so much for joining us. Good luck with the V-Screen and all future products. We can’t wait to see what’s next from RealView Innovations!