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The Looking Glass holographic display

The Looking Glass is a holographic light field display that can show volumetric videos and 3D models without VR or AR glasses. Here is a product video (with a less than subtle jab at Magic Leap):

The Looking Glass began as a crowdfunded project in July 2018, shipped to backers in December and is now commercially available, starting at $599.

The display works by showing 45 different views of the object simultaneously at 60fps.  It can be seen by multiple people, who will all see the 3d model from their own perspective.  The Looking Glass is aimed primarily at 3D creators and is being presented as an alternative to VR or AR.

Here are other demos of the Looking Glass:

Here is a demo by Kevin Kunze (shot in VR180):

The technology looks promising and I hope to see it in person one of these days.  On the other hand, I’m not sure how practical it is because of the limited size of the display.  It seems to me that AR or VR are more practical ways to view volumetric videos and 3D models.  Nonetheless, I see holographic displays such as this as more useful than AR or VR for certain applications, such as at a store or a museum, or similar location.

How about you?  What do you think?  Let me know in the comments!

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Mic Ty

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  • I know a few people that own one. It’s very realistic and ideal as a display that is viewed by several people at the same time. But it does require one to feed it quite a few images from multiple angles. And combining all these images into one results in a lower resolution. But the effect is very appealing.

    I definitely feel that glasses-free displays are a very attractive alternative to VR headsets. They are clearly a very different approach but a good compromise for those times when you don’t feel like having to strap-on the “diving mask” that is a VR headset. The Looking Glass is ideal for 3D CAD work since they can instantly display a design created on the computer in full 3D.

    • Will work with stereoscopic video (like insta360 case) or it will only workswith real time 3D content?. Rise of VR180 cameras will make shooting stereo video very affordable but not many people would want to wear a “diving mask” as you’ve said on their heads, especially at events. But when will this tech be available as a bigger screen or even as projection so IT could used on events? In the meantime I’m thinking about purchasing a lot of 3D glasses (like they have in IMAX) and use them with 3D ready projectors\big TVs on events to show off stereoscopic content I’ve shot with VR180 cameras

      • > Will work with stereoscopic video ?

        For stills, it’s possible to take a stereo pair and interpolate several extra images between them. Ideally, it’s best to take a series of pictures either using an array of cameras or using one camera on a slide bar. For video, I suspect the samples they show were taken with a multi-camera rig. I suspect two lenses would not be enough.

        > not many people would want to wear a “diving mask” as you’ve said on their heads, especially at events

        There have always been several approaches to viewing 3D content. The VR headsets of today are directly derived from the stereoscopes of the 19th century. 3D viewers with two lenses remain the ideal way of recreating a scene as if you were in front of it. Prints and displays however limit the field-of-view to the size of the picture or display. So you have to take this into account when showing your content. Some subjects and compositions will look fine on small displays while others require immersion to be effective. With 3D 180, one interesting compromise is to use an app that displays only a part of the scene at a time. As you move the display (in this case, a phone) you can see various parts of the image. This is similar to looking around while wearing a VR headset.

        > But when will this tech be available as a bigger screen or even as projection

        That can all be done now. In Japan there is a VR cinema where people are completely immersed in the scene.

        > In the meantime I’m thinking about purchasing a lot of 3D glasses (like they have in IMAX) and use them with 3D ready projectors\big TVs on events to show off stereoscopic content I’ve shot with VR180 cameras.

        That can be done but the trick is to be able to adjust the perspective and also find a way to show various parts of the scene. Mopic achieved this with their app Mplayer when they updated it last July to play 3D 180 clips.