Finding new ways to communicate face to face is always a priority for long distance relationships. While 2D video calls via webcams are a step closer, wouldn't 3D video calls be even better?

The short answer is no. Not yet, anyway. But perhaps we're being a little unfair in our expectations of the Minoru 3D webcam.

This isn't a device that is going to deliver a life-like holographic avatar of a far-flung friend to your home; it's more like throwaway fun.

With expectations suitably lowered, the Minoru 3D webcam serves its purpose well. Calibration is straightforward, with an easy to follow guide to tweaking the Minoru's two cameras to get a suitable 3D image. The image is displayed via red and cyan anaglyph 3D, so you and the person you're talking to only needs a pair of cheap cardboard glasses to see you in three dimensions.

While this form of 3D is very limited, it does mean that you and your contacts don't need to spend money on expensive 3D equipment to use it.

The camera is compatible with more advanced 3D technology like Nvidia 3D Vision, so you can enjoy an all-out 3D experience if you have the hardware. Even in red and cyan, the results are surprisingly good, and although you wouldn't want to use it for too long, it's a fun way to chat.

The Minoru's two cameras can also produce picture-in-picture footage, so you can hold objects up to one while talking to the other.

'Minoru' is Japanese for 'reality', and although this camera's 3D effects are far from realistic, they're not bad either. A fun diversion for 3D fans.

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