Looking Glass Factory Launches 65-inch Holographic Display
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Looking Glass Factory has introduced the largest holographic display in the world: the Sight glass 65-inch 3D rendering.
The Brooklyn, New York-based hologram company showed off its 65-inch 8K screen behind closed doors at the Augmented World Expo event last week.
Shawn Frayne, CEO of Looking Glass, showed me the screen in both dark and light conditions and it looked pretty good.
“We think this is the beginning of holographic displays becoming ubiquitous in our lives, initially with the in-store experience and at trade shows, but eventually in homes, hospitals and schools in a really big way because the content is already there,” Frayne said. “The engines to create the content are there, and tens of millions of people can generate such content today. There just hasn’t been a way to consume it.”
The new screen is five times larger than any other 3D holographic screen demonstrated in the lab by another company, he said, and it is 50 times larger than any other holographic screen seen in a group ever seen on has entered the market.
This sheer scale makes it ideal for use in groups such as experiential marketing, 3D storytelling, engineering, and design. The new display is the fourth display in Looking Glass Factory’s growing line-up.
“One of the most common questions we get is, how big can these screens get?” said Frayne. “The answer now is a ridiculously large 65 inch, and this is just the beginning. Like the shift from stills to film, radio to television and black and white to color over the past century – the Looking Glass 65 will be one of the ushering in monumental shifts in the way media is consumed – from flat 2D media to deep 3D, no headset or 3D glasses needed.”
The new display is already being used by entertainment companies for both storytelling and marketing, although Frayne is yet to disclose most of the companies.
This week, Springbok Entertainment will premiere its new movie, titled Zanzibar: Trouble in Paradise, on the 65-inch display in Tribeca 2022. Zanzibar: Trouble in Paradise is the first holographic film and documentary on a Looking Glass display, and it’s also the first-ever holographic film and documentary in competition at the Tribeca Festival.
“We are excited to partner with Looking Glass to premiere its new and stunning 65-inch 8k holographic display,” said Brandon Zamel, CEO of Springbok Entertainment, in a statement. “The massive increase in size promises 3D storytellers the ideal canvas to push the boundaries of immersive experiences. This rendering reinforces the regular possibilities and applications of the immersive medium; effectively a missing piece of the puzzle for the industry, which in turn will accelerate the entire growth.”
Shawn Frayne shows off the Looking Glass 65-inch holographic display.
The Looking Glass 65” is a holographic display without a headset. It is intended to present images, scenes and even entire movies. No headphones are needed.
It can be viewed by groups of 50 people. By generating up to 100 different perspectives of 3D content from 100 million points of light every 60th of a second, the Looking Glass 65” recreates reality with photons. That means everything displayed in the Looking Glass 65” looks real for up to 50 simultaneous viewers.
I noticed it looked good from one angle, then it would shift to another angle the more I went to a side view. The center of the image looked the sharpest, but details in the background or sides were a little blurry. Still, it looked quite impressive.
The display has a resolution of 8K, a color depth of more than a billion colors and a 16:9 aspect ratio that allows viewers to see the finest details of an image from multiple perspectives. And it’s only three inches thick despite a ton of glass, aluminum and electronics. It has four times the depth of any other group-visible system, Frayne said.
And it works with a variety of content. That includes plugins for Unity, Unreal, Blender and other software applications. The earlier Looking Glass Factory 32-inch screen sells for $20,000, and it has a 7.9-inch portrait version that sells for $400.
In comparison, the personal holographic portrait screen uses light field technology to produce about 45 different images, allowing you to view content in 3D, Frayne said. Tens of thousands of content creators use it to create their own content, and Looking Glass makes software to convert 3D content into holograms that people can share over the Internet.
The 32-inch has a 53-degree viewing zone and pumps out about 100 perspectives (two perspectives per degree), allowing a group of people to view an image at the same time. Your eyes see it in 3D as they are hit with five to seven perspectives at any given time.
You can expect the Looking Glass 65″ to run into the tens of thousands, but no price has been set yet. You can pre-order it here†
Looking Glass does have competitors like Light Field Lab, but Frayne declined to comment on the other competing technologies. But he generally believes that it’s better to experience 3D content without having to “dress up” with virtual reality headsets or other technology. Frayne believes we will have many ways to consume 3D.
“We are by far the leaders in this area, in terms of the number of units out there and the community,” he said. Looking Glass uses a backplane of an LCD or OLED screen as a base, then adds optical layers that redirect each sub-pixel. With 100 million sub-pixels, it can generate a synthetic version of the light field that makes the images feel real. Unlike a 2D screen, the 3D screen has intensity, color and angle.
“Our software is like a magic secret sauce behind this, because it allows us to very precisely control the direction of all 100 million points of light and then recreate what feels like a real jet engine,” he said. “And this system is actually hollow, so the light is actually converging.”
Growing up in Tampa, Florida, Frayne set up a holographic photo studio in his bedroom. He studied physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studied holography there. So he understands what a real hologram is.
“The term hologram has really taken on the meaning of three-dimensional media that groups of people can see,” Frayne said. “So as a hologram enthusiast, and a geek ourselves, we’ve always wanted this. It’s just not a coincidence with an interference pattern approach. It’s with a light field approach. So the more technical term for this system is a light field display, rather than a holographic display. But honestly, there are only 100 people in the world who care.”
In terms of target markets, Frayne believes it will boom in experiential marketing, digital signage and in-store experiences.
“There’s a lot of experimentation going on, but a lot of brands are starting to use these systems for in-store experiences,” he said.
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