What if holograms could react to the world in the same way that real objects do?
As rays of sunlight stream into an open window near your desk, the holographic bonsai tree in your Looking Glass reflects and refracts the sunlight, just as a real bonsai tree in your apartment would. You approach a holographic rendering of (a veritable!) Aladdin’s lamp in a museum and realize suddenly that your image is being reflected in the lamp’s metal surface, just as it would be reflected off of the real thing! And when you get home you find your kids playing with a miniature holographic Mickey Mouse living inside their Looking Glass — and Mickey feels like he is totally alive, as his shined shoes glimmer with the light of Christmas tree lights blinking nearby.
These are not fantasies decades in the future. This is happening right now in Looking Glasses around the world.
Right after the Looking Glass started shipping, Bob Burrough opened up the field of what he calls “environmentally-lit holograms” with this post:
This was quickly followed by Matt Hughes’ experiments, which he detailed in a blog post “Environment-based lighting and reflections in three.js and Looking Glass”.
And most recently Albert Hwang from our team has been experimenting with applications made with the Looking Glass Unity SDK and ambient real world lighting (post in comments or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to give it a try in your Looking Glass!)
I have a hunch that holograms beginning to react to the world around them will be remembered as one of the major shifts in interfaces this century. IMO, this is one of the keys to making digital objects and holographic life forms totally indistinguishable from real ones.
Next up, #10: Holograms Reacting to the World — Part 2 (Gravity)
*this is part of our “100 Days of Holograms” series, where Missy Senteio and Shawn Frayne of Looking Glass Factory post one new wonderful or weird (or both!) use for the Looking Glass holographic display each day.