Holograms are perhaps the biggest sci-fi holy grail of technology, and companies have spent years trying to bring the floating, 3D displays of movies likeStar Wars,Minority Report, andAvatarto life.
Looking Glass is a startup that’s been working on just that. After releasing its HoloPlayer One SDK and development kit earlier last year, the company is back with a more polished, final product designed for 3D creators simply called “The Looking Glass” that is looking for funding for on Kickstarter.
The Looking Glass uses similar technology as the HoloPlayer One; it creates 45 distinct views of the three-dimensional model and uses a lenticular lens to display those views from different angles to create the holographic effect that lets you see different parts of the object depending on where you’re looking at it.
The company envisions that The Looking Glass display will be used by artists and workers who already need to work in 3D — people like game developers, product designers, industrial engineers, and architects — to get a new perspective on their projects. You’ll also be able to connect devices like the Leap Motion controller, Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers, or other motion-controlling devices to interact with your holographic images in real time.
The device still needs a host computer to run. Looking Glass recommends an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card at minimum (plus an HDMI port for display data and a USB-C port for power). On the software side of things, The Looking Glass will support OBJ, FBX, STL, and gLTF formats, along with an export tool for directly sending objects from Maya. Looking Glass is also working on tools that will allow for live viewing objects from Maya, Zbrush, Blender, Tinkercad, and Solidworks straight on The Looking Glass, which will be provided to backers for free further down the line.
The Looking Glass will be available in two sizes: a $600 8.9-inch model and a $3,000 15.9-inch size, although the company is offering a limited number of dramatically cheaper discounts for backers who pledge in the first 24 hours. Looking Glass promises that the first 100 units will ship early starting in September 2018. The rest of the devices will ship a few months later in December. And while this isn’t Looking Glass’ first Kickstarter, as with any crowdfunding campaign, use your best judgment before backing.