April 1, 2013

3D Dupery

It’s April Fools’ Day here in the U.S., so I wanted to pursue a topic consistent with the hoaxing season.  Yet, these unfortunate examples are no joke—or maybe the joke’s on you!

This is a test. Feel free to use your notes. Look at these exhibit hall booth pictures or videos, each featuring 3D products, which were taken at recent FETC (Orlando) and TCEA (Austin) conferences:

Exhibit 1


Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3

Next, look at this product:
Exhibit 4

What’s absolutely intriguing about each of these scenes is that they have nothing to do with Stereoscopic 3D. They demonstrate guerrilla marketing techniques, efforts at capturing the recent cultural fascination with all things 3D:   
  • Exhibit 1 is a vendor marketing a type of 360teacher evaluation product. No stereoscopic here.
  • Exhibit 2 is a media distributor advertising 3D simulations from a respected company—Cyber-Anatomy—but although the exhibitor advertises it as 3D, they only sell the rendered 3D versions (namely 2D), not their wonderful stereo 3D collection.
  • Exhibit 3 shows the booth for the well-known Kid Pix software sold to elementary schools. But there is no stereoscopy here—it rendered 3D or paste-boarded 2D.
  • Exhibit 4 is a new toothpaste product. ‘Nuff said.
Although truth and advertising are jokingly considered contradictory terms, let’s pause and consider what is actually happening on the exhibit hall floor. 

If I were a pessimist or a conspiracy theorist, I might call this approach misleading or beguiling, a clever ruse set up by dishonest wanglers attempting to cloak questionable marketing copy. Ignis fatuus.

On the other hand, this might be a very reasonable and benign attempt at marketing. In that case I would consider this approach to be little more than benefit by association or unintentional misbranding. Or you might consider this old-school branding—after all, rendered 3D and stereo 3D both use the ‘3D’ nomenclature.

But the more I think about it, and how ‘3D’ is hawked in person or in print in these exhibit halls or advertisements, I can see why many educators I talk with feel differently. They feel let down after visiting these booths in exhibit halls. It’s similar to the dozens of exhibitors that aim to jump on board the ‘green’ bandwagon by claiming their products are now green. The words canard, misrepresentation, or equivocation come quickly to mind. Mere semblance always frustrates educators. Remember that.

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