We all want the Star Trek holodeck. And we’ll all be waiting for it, because frankly, most of what makes the Star Trek holodeck amazing is probably impossible.
Or, at least in our current technological stage, tremendously unlikely.
Especially without wearing TV screens inches from our eyes.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have 3D visual holographic presence in places where we’re not physically present. And a new launch in New York is enabling that future right now, with a shipping product that at least one of my friends with all the possible tech gadgets says is the best I’ve ever seen.
15 years have passed in progress.
And if you can believe that the company behind the product is as revolutionary as the transition from still photography to moving video.
Mirror factory founder Shawn Frayne began building holographic technology at the age of eight or nine after seeing Marty McFly wrapped in a holographic shark in Back to the future II. And it never really stopped. One of the reasons is what changes in our experience when 2D becomes 3D … when the plane becomes dimensional.
Real, in a sense.
More real, if I may say so, than flat photos or videos.
Listen to the interview behind this story on the TechFirst podcast:
“Remembering people in our lives who are still here and also people who are no longer there, I think, is something where a new interface plays a natural role,” Frayne told me in a recent episode of the TechFirst podcast. “My brother Ryan died a few years ago. When he was still nearby … one of the things he wanted to do was capture a video message from him to his newborn daughter. “
The technology was not there yet.
He was not able to grasp exactly what he wanted.
But this connection with people who are not physically present (and may not be able to physically re-present themselves) is what prompted him to create a new type of screen.
The result is the Looking Glass, which according to Frayne is the first holographic interface in the world that you can use to interact with a world of 3D content without having to put on an augmented reality or virtual reality headset. There’s an 8-inch high-definition screen for portraits and personal use, a 16-inch 4K computer secondary screen and the world’s highest-resolution 32 ”light field screen, an 8-inch holographic screen miles for group work and presentation. Around it is a software platform to put your own photos from your Mac or PC to Looking Glass and a community of holographic application providers.
(Mirror screens are difficult to accurately display in a two-dimensional photo: play the video at the top of this item for up to about 20 seconds to see it in action.)
That’s a big deal, Frayne says.
“There was a time, more than a hundred years ago, when people had memories and illustrations of imagined futures that they could see in photographs and paintings, but … they weren’t alive the way things are. in the real world, ”says Frayne. “Then someone came and put 12 of these images in sequence in a second and they repeated that, and then a new medium of cinema was born. And that came closer to life, closer to what we see in our And the leap from flat media, flat computer devices, flat screen to space systems like the Mirror, is at least as big a leap as the leap from photography to film. “
The reality of 3D comes from how it is produced in reality and how it is recreated in holography.
The screens of two standard computers or phones, like the one you’re reading right now, glow with points of light. Frayne says that light is directed primarily in a direction toward you, and light has basically two properties: intensity and color.
This is not like the real world.
Real-world light also has these properties, of course, but the light we see outdoors, at home, or in our workplaces adds a third property: directionality. This type of light does not originate in a single plane. It does not point mainly in one direction. It comes from all directions and bounces in all directions. It is refracted through glass and reflected in mirrors.
The Looking Glass 8K product replicates this with 100 million light points.
And it is essential for 3D images and their sense of reality.
“This gives things their dimensionality … it gives the world specular details when you see the brightness of someone’s eyes or the river,” Frayne says. “It’s real because it’s three-dimensional, it’s specular.”
Use is to see holographic images of loved ones or loved ones. Another, especially for larger Looking Glass products, is to work together with others in 3D spaces.
“One of the biggest benefits of the current Mirror is that you can collaborate more effectively around 3D content with someone who is by your side in a work context,” says Frayne. “And that is already expanding into the hybrid office situation that most of us are in now and hope to be … for the foreseeable future.”
It could be a molecular model of a drug or a 3D representation of a new product with which people can interact socially, practically touch each other with their hands in the display cases, and collaborate on it. And maybe it’s a 3D model of your face and / or body in your partner’s office around the world and yours in yours, while you work together.
“This will be another step in the not-too-distant future where I can have synchronous communication, so I can also be there with my teammates represented in a holographic video call and what do you have,” Frayne says.
“So this is much, much, much closer than I think most people realize.”
Get a complete transcript here, o subscribe and TechFirst.