There’s no shortage of virtual reality or augmented reality headsets on the market these days. But they tend to have one thing in common: you need to put a silly looking thing on your head to engage with 3D objects and environments.
The Looking Glass is a new type of glasses-free 3D display that offers offers holographic imagery that lets you see items from different angles.
Each Looking Glass uses lightfield and volumetric display technology to show 45 different vies simultaneously at 60 frames per second. You can use it to view 3D designs before sending them to a 3D printer, get a better look at architectural drawings, play interactive games, or view artwork or animations from multiple angles.
The developers of the Looking Glass plan to start shipping displays in December, and they’re taking pre-orders through a Kickstarter campaign.
There are two different Looking Glass models, and the smaller one is a lot cheaper. Here are the sizes/prices:
- 8.9 inches for $600 (retail) or $400 and up (for early bird Kickstarter backers)
- 15.9 inches for $3000 (retail) or $2500 and up (for early bird Kickstarter backers)
The smaller model is the “standard” size, and it measures 8.2″ x 6.1″ x 3.7 and weighs about 4.8 pounds.
The large model measures 14.5″ x 9.6″ x 6.9″ and weighs 18.6 pounds.
Both versions are designed to connect to a PC or Mac via a USB and HDMI cable, and the’re designed to work with the Looking Glass HoloPlay SDK for Unity. You can also import objects from software tools including AutoCAD, Cinema4D, Blender, and other programs.
If you want to interact with the screen, it’s also designed to work with add-ons including a Leap Motion controller, Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers, Intel RealSense, Microsoft Kinect, or Xbox Game controllers or an Arduino device. For example, you can use one of these motion controllers to detect hand gestures so you can manipulate or interact with holograms by spinning them around.
At this point, Looking Glass is really aimed at developers rather than end users. It’ll probably be a while before you’ll want to buy a device like this, plug it into your PC and use it to play games or watch professionally produced holographic videos. But for creators of 3D/holographic content, it provides a nifty new glasses-free way to preview virtual objects and scenes without wasting 3D printer filament or putting on a bulky headset.