Stereoscopic Imaging

What Does Stereoscopic Imaging Mean?

Stereoscopic Imaging is a technique used for creating or enhancing the illusion that an image has depth by showing two slightly offset images separately to each eye of the viewer. Both images are of the same scene or object but from a slightly different angle or perspective. This is meant to trick your brain into synthesizing that the small lateral displacements between the positions of the images are implying spatial depth. Special equipment is usually required in order for the brain to make sense of the picture. The most common applications of 3D need the viewer to be wearing either passive eyewear (polarized glasses) or active eyewear (liquid crystal shutter glasses).


Stereoscopic images can provide spatial information that is essential in applications like CAD, geology, medical imaging or the like. Stereoscopic imaging is also known as Stereoscopy or 3D Imaging.

Techopedia Explains Stereoscopic Imaging

There are three ways to achieve the desired effect:

  • Display each image separately and use active shutter glasses to filter the image so that the correct eye sees it.
  • Present the both images superimposed with each other and rely on polarized glasses to combine both images.
  • Or each image could be shown directly into each eye eliminating the need for glasses. This is done via a parallax barrier on the screen which makes use of the difference in the position of the eyes. The barrier allows one eye to see a different set of images than the other eye because of the slight difference in angle that the eyes have.

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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…