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Watching Clouds Drift By...And Taking XKCD Way Too Seriously

Here's a light-hearted piece to close out the week. Back in late August, I showcased a vision-themed web comic that described one observer's attempt to gain an enhanced depth-perception sense of the clouds overhead by simultaneously video-capturing them from two cameras hundreds of feet apart, then feeding the output of each camera to one eye for an expanded parallax effect. Leave it to Make Magazine to take the idea and run with it, publishing a writeup last week titled "The XKCD “Giant Head” Enhanced Depth Perception Project":

There’s no reason the idea shouldn’t work, in principle. To do so requires a viewer with an individually addressable video display for each eye, but these are not too hard to come by. And large-parallax static stereograms taken using synchronized still cameras are well known... But I’m curious about the real-time full-motion video version. You’d need two HD webcams set up on, say, mountain peaks a couple miles apart. Perhaps overlooking an airport? Might do audio, too, while you’re at it, so you could use stereo earphones to get the full-on “giant head” effect...

Also make sure you check out the lengthy, detailed comments left by readers. Great stuff!