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Early 3D Computer Graphics From Bell Labs - AT&T Archives

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Published on Aug 17, 2012

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Two of the earliest three-dimensional computer graphics films. The films' creator, A. Michael Noll, programmed the computer (most of this work in the Labs was done on an IBM 7094) to generate the correct stereoscopic imagery, and these images were printed side-by-side, frame by frame. They're intended for freeviewing in 3D — i.e. the three-dimensional image is created when one views the film while cross-eyed — no special devices required. Of course, the time/movement elements bring the film into the fourth dimension.

This 4D technique was also utilized for the opening credits to the 1968 Bell System film, Incredible Machine, in which Noll also appears.

Noll worked at Bell Labs until 1971; during his time there he explored many other 3D projects, including a 3D joystick, an interactive 3D display, and a 3D force-feedback device.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

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