If you're looking for an example of a small company with big dreams and an ethos of 'doing things right', have a look at the Pratley Company. They're two brothers, Peter and Martin Brennan, and their friend Oscar Fernandez and they have just launched a Kickstarter appeal to help get their dream of the True-View off the ground. The True-View is a device that allows you to take photos with your smartphone but see them in 3D. So how does it work? Through mirrors and physics. When you place your smartphone into the True-View, a series of mirrors inside it reflects light off of each other, effectively splitting your phone's lens into two. This produces a pair of stereoscopic images. When you view them through the True-View the two images are displayed side-by-side. The left eye sees the left image, and the right eye sees the right image. Then it is down to the brain, which amalgamates them into a single image where there's a perception of depth. It appears to be 3D.
If you think that this sounds similar to the Poppy, a 3D viewer that met its Kickstarter goal within a remarkably short period of time, you would be right. However, the Pratley team is keen to point out the differences. First, and perhaps most significantly, the True-View is Android-compatible, whereas the Poppy only catered for iOS devices. For anyone with a non-Apple phone who felt excluded from the Poppy party, now's your chance.
It isn't just that True-View caters to a larger market than an iOS-only device, however. It has been designed to be a sustainable and more artisan product. If you change phone you won't need a new True-View, you just have to replace its base, where the phone is secured. Quite a bit of it is hand-crafted and the Pratley team has gone out of their way to meet with engineers and manufacturers to get the right people for the job. In their words: 'We could send our design files off to a cheap factory in China and see what comes back, but it just didn't feel like the right way to do this.'
They also wanted something that was beautiful and not just functional: the True-View has a leather stipple effect similar that of more retro cameras and a silver chrome piping finish.
All of this means that the True-View has an enormous Kickstarter goal of £125,000. This requires a lot of people to pledge £65 (approximately $105) for a True-View. These guys want to change the way that we think about 3D imagery; if you love stereoscopy, check out their Kickstarter.