Dixon crossing Niagara below the Great Cantilever Bridge, U.S.A. 1895-1903
-photo courtesy of NYPL
Dixon crossing Niagara below the Great Cantilever Bridge, U.S.A. 1895-1903 -photo courtesy of NYPL

 

NYPL gives viewers the opportunity to take 19th century images and turn them into 21st century GIF files.

 

Stereograms, invented in 1838 by Charles Wheatstone, are pairs of two dimensional images shot from different angles in such a way that they mimic the vantage points of our left and right eyes. When viewed through a stereoscope, the combined images pop out in 3D.

 

Stereograms were hugely popular in the 19th century and often used to give audiences glimpses of parts of the world they may never have been able to see before. Even more recently, NASA has used the stereogram technology to take 3D pictures on Mars to better see what the landscape of the planet looks like.

 

Last month, the New York Public Library's experimental Labs department (http://www.nypl.org/collections/labs) unveiled its latest digitization project, the Stereogranimator. This cool new tool enables users to take old stereograms from the 19th century and turn them into 21st century animated images. Using the Stereogranimator (http://stereo.nypl.org), you can choose an image and then the speed and composition of your animation and start creating a flickering image that looks 3D! The Stereogranimator also gives you the option to create an old school red and blue 3D image that can be viewed through 3D glasses (not the ones you kept from that movie you saw last week!).

 

Check out NYPL's website for other low tech to high tech projects and start making your own animated images today! Add them to your website or next school project!