There was news this week of an impressive grand-scale projection for a TV series promotion that was done in four cities around the globe and billed as a 60-foot hologram, but it wasn't ... really.
To give you a sense of technology that is MUCH closer to being a three-dimensional hologram that has volume, here's a look at the second generation of light field displays from the Brooklyn start-up Looking Glass Factory.
The eight-year-old company has been doing R&D work, getting to product stage, and then marketing small desktop displays, with a use-case aimed primarily as a secondary desktop monitor used by 3D animators to test and validate material.
Now Looking Glass has a 7.9” portrait variant of the landscape desktop display, and 2nd-gen versions of a 15.4” 4K model and a 32” 8K monitor. There is a lot of stuff way the hell over my head to what's going on here, but in brief, Looking Glass uses light field display technology to generate as many as 100 horizontal views of a 3D scene that differ based on viewing angle. It means there's not just one viewing sweet spot - as with all those 3D illusions on billboards - and several people can be in front of the display looking at 60 frames per second video.
One of the interesting aspects of the Gen 2 Looking Glass product is that the visuals are no longer just "contained" in the thick glass-like block of the display, but can project in front of or behind it. In all, the depth of visuals is about three inches, or 8 cm for metric users.
AV consultant/writer Chris Chinnock has a great post up on the 8K Association website about his visit to Looking Glass in Brooklyn, and his impressions of these new units. He also gets into prices, which are predictably high given the stage of the company and volume of sales (niche, not mass market). Hat Tip to Display Daily for pointing out the piece.
Chinnock notes the company gets asked a lot about larger units that would mirror the sorts of display sizes used in digital signage, but says the CEO was non-committal about that happening. I don't see that as a big barrier to adoption for things like specialty retail, like fine timepieces. It will likely be a long time before light field displays get mass rolled out in c-stores or Walmarts, though, given the costs.