Looking Glass Factory: A Place Where Imagination Comes to Life

The Brooklyn-based Looking Glass Factory turned the dream of having holograms in our homes into reality. They introduced a volumetric display that doesn't require any VR or AR headset, allowing creators to view and interact with immersive 3D content in real time.

The Ultimate Holographic Display for 3D Creators

One would think that the humanity is decades away from the commercialization of real-life holographic devices. Holograms, such as the one Obi-Wan Kenobi received as a message from Princess Leia, were once deemed “science fiction”. Looking Glass Factory, however, turned fiction into reality, taking us one step closer to the technology of tomorrow.

Looking Glass Factory is a Brooklyn-based company founded in 2013. Shawn Frayne, the founder and CEO of Looking Glass Factory, however, has been tinkering with holographic technology since 2006.

Together with many talented individuals, the diverse team developed a volumetric display that allows viewers to see, interact and change 3D objects in real-time. In addition to already raising $30 million, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign introducing Looking Glass—a one of a kind holographic display. The crowdfunding campaign was fully funded in just 2 hours.

The company envisions that the future of technology will not to isolate humans, but rather, make human connections stronger. Although they received funding from investors who supported Formlabs, Makerbot, Sphero, and Occipital, the company launched Looking Glass first on Kickstarter. Not with the goal to raise money, but to address the fellow community of like-minded peers.

Through the Looking Glass

The Looking Glass is an elegant 7 inches deep display that can be plugged into any modern computer via one USB cable and one HDMI cable. However in order to work, it needs to be connected at all times.

Originally two completely different fields, the company combined the interactive light field display technology with volumetric display technology. Looking Glass displays 3D content in full motion and color at up to 60 fps. It works seamlessly with Maya, Unity and other 3D softwares. Furthermore, it comes in two sizes – a 8.9 inch model sold for $600 and the 15 inch model for $3000.

The Looking Glass can read  OBJ, FBX, STL and gLTF formats and all Kickstarter backers receive access to HoloPlay Unity SDK. Additionally, customers also receive an App Library featuring dozens of other free apps including 3D scan previews, holographic games and 3D scan viewer apps.

More Natural 3D Viewing Experience

The Looking Glass display features 45 unique interlaced views of 3D scenes and 50 degrees field of view, providing an unique watching experience. This technology allows groups of people to view the 3D content from various angles without having to wear the cumbersome AR or VR headsets.

The founders are confident that in the near future it will be possible to import live 3D content using iPhone X depth mapping or photogrammetry. They already have been testing some of these technologies.

3D Content Living Inside of The Looking Glass

Many 3D designers’ dreams have come to life thanks to the Looking Glass. Creatives who work with 3D objects, whether designers, architects or CAD engineers, are now able to leave their VR or AR headset behind.

The inventors restricted the amount of depth in the display so that the viewer won’t feel fatigue even after a whole day work. Due to the fact that numerous viewers can view the content simultaneously and provide instant feedback, the whole product development process can be much faster.

Developed specially for 3D creators, Unity developers now have the unique ability to test their creations in the 3D space and see how the object operates in real time.

Moreover, product designers and architects will be able to present their clients a realistic preview of their products or future homes. And perhaps, we will be soon able to send holographic selfies across the world.

For more details, check out their Kickstarter page or website.

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