Holographic display hardware startup Looking Glass Factory unveiled its first real product Tuesday: the Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display aims to provide companies with a way to view 3D assets as holograms, without the need to use VR headsets. The product is being sold into the enterprise market, but the company also has plans to eventually release similar devices to consumers.
Looking Glass Factory was founded in 2014, and since released two smaller holographic displays primarily geared toward developers, measuring 8.9 and 15.6 inches, respectively. “We’ve been chasing the dream of the holographic display since day one,” co-founder and CEO Shawn Frayne said during a recent interview with Variety.
With its new display, the company now aims to build upon the lessons learned from releasing those small-scale displays, and release them in a form-factor that makes sense for day-to-day use in enterprise environments. “We think it’s gonna be quite transformative,” Frayne said.
The new display has a 32-inch screen, roughly the size of a smaller HD TV. It is 4 inches deep, but capable of displaying holograms with a much larger perceived depth. It uses a 45 element horizontal parallax to create holograms, and is capable of displaying a total of 33M pixels — however, you won’t ever see all of those pixels at the same time.
Due to the technology used to create the holograms, you won’t be able to see them from every angle. Instead, the Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display is limited to a 50-degree viewing cone. However, Frayne argued that this is still enough for multiple co-workers to look at holograms at the same time.
For instance, Hollywood studios could use holographic displays to preview 3D content without the need to put everyone into a VR headset. “We really think of this as the third pillar” for AR / VR content, said Frayne.
The Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display will ship complete with a computer capable of rendering holographic content, and a Leap Motion sensor to respond to the viewer. The startup has yet to release pricing for the product, with Frayne only suggesting that it will cost more than the company’s current 15.6-inch display that retails for $6000. “It’s an enterprise level product,” he said.
Looking Glass Factory is not the only company developing holographic displays. Another such company is Light Field Lab, which has been showing off a prototype for its own holographic display to select industry insiders for about a year now. And just like Light Field Lab, Looking Glass eventually aims to produce such displays for consumers as well, and ultimately replace traditional TV sets with holographic screens. The emergence of consumer-ready displays is “a matter of years, not decades,” said Frayne.