Posted on Feb. 20, 2015 (
Last week Mattel and Google announced they were bringing the View-Master into the 21st century by introducing a new and improved digital version.
It uses a smartphone to produce the distinctive 3D images that previously were produced by thumbnail-sized pieces of film in a little paper disk.
You remember View-Masters, don’t you? They were invented right here in the Northwest, and introduced as an educational tool at the 1939 World's Fair in New York.
The hand-held device allowed users to look at photos placed on a reel that they inserted into a slot at the top. Viewers pulled down on a small handle to click through the roster of photos.
There were 14 pictures on a reel, creating 7 sets of images. Each set, when viewed together through the View-Master, produced a single three-dimensional image that was sheer magic for the awe-struck viewer.
My grandfather was a big fan, and I inherited both his collection and his enthusiasm for the toy. I still have the black Sawyer’s View-Master that dates from the 1940s or 50s, and an uncounted multitude of View-Master reels.
Through reels with titles like “St. Augustine Ostrich and Alligator Farm” or “Strange Animals of Africa and Australia,” the View-Master showed me the world, up close and personal — literally.
Its simple construction allowed even young children to select a disk, insert it into the device, and bring it right up to our faces, where through our own eyes we could see “The Great Pyramids of Egypt” or “The Tournament of Roses Parade” or “Hawaiian Hula Dancers.” (Wow!)
And the best part was that it was 3D. Amazing — almost like being there! (If “there” was very small, that is.)
I was enchanted then, and I’m still a little in awe now, that by combining just two perspectives of the same scene you could generate a much richer and more engaging picture.
As a youngster, I puzzled over how this was possible. I came to just one conclusion: it took two photos to produce the result.
I haven’t forgotten this important lesson: two viewpoints, when focused and aligned, can produce a better image of a scene (or situation, strategy, opportunity, etc.) than just one.
There is something almost magical about what happens when those perspectives align.
There is an excitement that emerges when we can see new possibilities in a shared and familiar landscape, simply by looking at it from different perspectives, intentionally aligned.
Bill Robertson, President and CEO
Bill Robertson has served as MultiCare's President and CEO since May 2014. He came from Adventist HealthCare, Inc., based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Prior to Adventist, Robertson served as CEO of Shawnee Mission Medical Center near Kansas City, Kansas. More stories by this author