3 min read

Who doesn’t love to watch 3D movies in the theatre? The concept of 3D television is also a novel one. Irrespective of the 3D technology having a lot of takers, the one universally accepted fact is, that 3D glasses suck big time. The same issue of cumbersome headgear has plagued Virtual Reality development too. The broad consensus has been that there can be better ways of visualizing 3D and VR content. Although the 3D and VR development methodologies have improved quite a lot in recent times, the display systems have not. A latest innovation project by Kickstarter is trying to tackle this issue head-on, by introducing LookingGlass, a holographic display for 3D creators.

Source: LookingGlass Project

How does LookingGlass work?

The traditional 3D systems create two stereoscopic images of the primary video which can be viewed by one person only – with the use of a glass. The LookingGlass comes with a different underlying tech. It generates 45 distinct views of a three-dimensional scene so that multiple people standing around a LookingGlass can see different parts of the scene in the real world. The feature of 45 distinct 3D space representations enable multiple people to view the 3D image simultaneously without the need to use glasses.

LookingGlass functionality: Source – Kickstarter

How to use it?

The LookingGlass team has already released a free HoloPlay SDK that runs on Unity and helps developers to import their 3D designs and models into the LookingGlass easily. There’s also the option of using the Model Importer for 2D and 3D models. In the early beta release of the application, only gLTF, OBJ and glb file formats are accepted but more are to come soon. The Model Importer uses a special type of control to allow you to view your model from different perspectives in 3D. You can rotate around your model by left clicking and dragging. You can pan around the scene by right clicking and dragging, and you can zoom in by scrolling.

Supported devices on LookingGlass

All major 3D devices which need a headgear, can be displayed on the LookingGlass. It can be used as a Leap Motion Controller, Nintendo Joy Con controller and as an Ultrahaptic development kit. You can also seamlessly connect two Looking Glasses together for a bigger display size.

Challenges

An honest review by the VR industry reveals that LookingGlass has not lived upto the initial hype and faces disillusionment. The major reason seems to be the cumbersome headgears and the impracticality. The UX design is also not adaptive for the immersive nature of VR content. The animations turned out to be bloated and non-impressive. The reason being the absence of a display system that is truly immersive and 3D. The LookingGlass might prove to be the perfect launch pad for futuristic 3D apps, games and immersive mixed reality content. We are certainly looking forward to that.

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