Rather than forcing chunky peripherals on your head or hands via VR or AR, real holograms are the stuff of science fiction: true interactive displays which humans can interact with on a more personal level. The day when such a display would come to fruition was thought to be right up there with flying car tech – meaning it would never happen.
Well, you might want to take a closer look at the Looking Glass – a holographic display which uses lightfield and volumetric technologies to bring the science fiction fantasy to reality.
This thing is the real deal. Instead of having groups of people take turns using interactive hardware, all of them can use the Looking Glass simultaneously. 45 different angles of a 3D image are projected onto the display at 60 fps, letting you see the complete picture from different positions. You can then push, pull, and move the images on the screen, just as you would using a VR or AR application.
Apps on the display use a HoloPlay Unity development kit and can be downloaded for free on an App Library in the Looking Glass. Holo film shorts, virtual pets, volumetric video clips, CT-scan/DICOM importers, and more can be downloaded from the get-go, with the ability for content creators to upload their own apps onto the library for others to use.
In case you were wondering, the Looking Glass supports all your old 3D files, from OBJ, STL, gLTF, to FBX formats. It even works with programs you’re already familiar with. Blender, Maya, Zbrush, Tinkercad, and Solidworks compatibilities are already being developed with more on the way.
The hardware also allows for connectivity with outside peripherals, such as the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller, Leap Motion Controller, and Intel RealsSense for a more personal interactive experience. You can even connect two Looking Glasses together for some awesome-looking moving models.
The applications of the display range from simple 3D modeling all the way to architecture and digital fabrication. The Looking Glass comes in two sizes: the smaller one measuring 8.2” X 6.7” X 3.1” and the larger measuring 14.5” X 6.9” X 9.6”. Getting one of these holographic displays will cost you upwards of $450-$999 for the small screen and $2,500-$5,000 for the big screen but hey, it seems like a small price to pay for a piece of technology thought of to be nearly impossible.
The project has already accomplished its $50,000 goal on Kickstarter and currently has a funding of $688,706. You can find more information on the Looking Glass’s applications and compatibility methods on its Kickstarter page.