Beta launch of Volume

Since we were kids we’ve had this particular sci-fi dream — the dream of the hologram. My co-founder Alex Hornstein has notebooks from when he was in high school full of designs of wild machines that could conjure three-dimensional images; and likewise when I was a wee teen I convinced my Dad to help me drag a carload of sand from Home Depot to make an “optical sandbox” necessary for a homebrew holographic studio, taking up half my bedroom. It’s one of those dreams that normally dies as you become an adult, unless you are mad. Mad I say.

Old school guide to old school holograms, circa Christmas 1994. Thanks Mom and Dad — loved it! But I wanted more.

The dream of the hologram for me never involved goggles or 3D glasses — it was the idea that you and a few friends and family could interact with a living 3D scene, just as naturally as you might hang out with another person sitting right in front of you.

Here I am with my kids — Jane and Ben — reliving a scene taken with a Structure 3D camera (by Structure Sensor) with our recently released Holoflix iOS app!

That dream is now closer to becoming a reality with the launch of the Developer’s Edition of Volume, a limited beta release of a new type of true 3D system we call a lightfolding volumetric display. Ok, ok, it’s not a holographic display, but through a different technological pathway we’re getting closer to the dream of the hologram. True 3D content, no headgear, natively social. Volume uses two million points of light guided to their respective XYZ coordinates in physical space via 10 light guides — and voila, a 3D scene is pulled from 3D digital space into the real world. I’ll write a post soon on why this works with just 10 light guides and how this differs from other attempts at reaching for the dream of the hologram. Spoiler alert: it’s not a Pepper’s ghost reflection.

p.s. we’ve also just released a suite of tools in Unity for creating in Volume + a new app just released a few days ago that lets you record 3D volumetric videos with iPads for the first time.

A CT-scan of a beating heart in Volume. Kyle looking concerned.

So, if you’re a misfit jonesing to create in a new medium at the very beginning of its life, you’ve found the right place. You can buy a beta system of your own here (will be sold out soon!) or if you are in Brooklyn, you can visit our lab and work on Volume in person with our team. Email me or leave a note in the comments below.

Whether it’s a video game from the future, a way to view cell mitosis in 3D, or the next generation of Tamagotchi, we’re developing tools to help bring these visions to life. Hypercube is our core Unity Plugin that lets you create almost any application in Volume. Download it on the Unity Asset store here.

p.p.s. special prize to the first person that makes volumetric karaoke!

To the future!

Shawn Frayne, Looking Glass Co-founder & CEO

Follow our chase on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.