2019 was truly a turning point in our journey to actualizing the sci-fi dream of holograms. It was indeed a year full of new product releases, exciting user content, and professional deployments, but each of these moments began with someone realizing the value of being able to gather people together to share an experience as a group.
This post is a love letter to everyone who used holograms to share, connect, and bring people together through the Looking Glass in the year 2019. Because of you, it is undeniable that the future of the holographic display is bright.
Love at First Light (Field)
We began this year by shipping thousands of Looking Glasses to developers, creatives, and professionals all over the world. It wasn't long before the Looking Glass became the most widely adopted holographic light field display in the world. We can't thank our community of Looking Glass users enough for helping us make that happen, nor our wider community of hologram enthusiasts for their support.
Parallel to our launch in the US, we launched a Makuake campaign so our community in Japan could preorder the Looking Glass. The campaign was incredibly successful as we reached almost 10x our initial goal. Our Japanese community has always been an endless source of enthusiasm and inspiration for us. We truly wouldn't be where we are without them.
Holograms to INFINITI & Beyond
Creative firm Visionaries 777 used several Looking Glass displays to bring holograms to the 2019 North American International Auto Show. Folks who had never seen a holographic display in person were now able to see their own faces reflected inside the Looking Glass. Additionally, with the help of Ultraleap hand tracking, NAIAS attendees could swipe through holographic visualizations of a futuristic INFINITI concept car.
The Looking Glass allowed us to display interactive and immersive visualizations of INFINITI cars and branding identity. Due to its holographic effect, it was very eye-catching but, more importantly increased the immersion and allowed the user to almost feel the car. With Leap Motion hand tracking, users could interact without the need for controllers, making interactions seamless and natural.
-Frantz Lasorne, Visionaries 777 Interaction Design Consultant & Co-Founder
This example of getting viewers to feel transported is the exact kind of interactive immersion we love seeing. Learn more about this unique holographic deployment here.
Hack to the Future
In March 2019 our dear friend Mr. Yuichi Ishii hosted a weekend-long Looking Glass hackathon with some members from our beloved Japan-based study group the Looking Glass Club. We were stunned to see the creativity and ingenuity that resulted simply from getting enough Looking Glass creators together in the same space.
This 50-person hackathon brought forth 10 different holographic applications themed after changing seasons. We were blown away by what came out of this event. See more holographic wonders from this hackathon here.
AWE Snap, It's the Looking Glass 15." Pro!
AWE is always a good time, but AWE 2019 was truly something special. Since the very first in-person demonstration of the Looking Glass, folks had been asking us when/if it will be possible for holographic light field displays to be touch-sensitive. That question was answered when we debuted the Pro version of the 15.6" Looking Glass at the Augmented World Expo.
This all-in-one holographic workstation came to be because our enterprise customers needed a system that could showcase holographic media right out of the box without having to be plugged into an external computer. The Looking Glass 15.6" Pro ships with the HoloPlay Unity SDK, HoloPlay Plugin for Unreal, and the HoloPlay.js three.js Looking Glass Library, as well as a built-in Intel® NUC 8 VR NUC8i7HVK computer.
The Looking Glass 15.6" Pro on Adam Savage's Tested
We had the pleasure of getting to talk about the systems on Adam Savage's Tested. See Norman Chan's thoughts on the 15.6 Pro Looking Glass here:
A Colossal Announcement
In October 2019 Looking Glass Factory CEO Shawn Frayne penned a blog post hinting at the arrival of a holographic display unlike anything that had come before it. This new system would function as an immersive window into holographic worlds indistinguishable form our own. Soon after that post was published, the world finally saw what he meant.
The Looking Glass 8K made quite an impression on our friends in Japan when we debuted it at DC Expo, and it's continuing to leave an impression on those who've seen it in person.
The Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display on Linus Tech Tips
We couldn't release the Looking Glass 8K and not have Linus Sebastian by our Brooklyn lab for a viewing. See his reaction to seeing the Looking Glass 8K for the first time here:
A Hologram Before Christmas
Just in time for the holidays, a special exhibit opened in Las Vegas. Renowned director, writer, and artist Tim Burton partnered with the Neon Museum to launch Lost Vegas: Tim Burton @ The Neon Museum. We helped them put together a special installation that featured holographic version of Tim Burton's childhood drawings.
"To be honest, upon experiencing the Looking Glass in person, we quickly decided it was the ideal solution to bring to life Tim Burton’s childhood memories."
This was an especially neat moment for us, as Tim Burton is notoriously passionate about all things analog. Knowing that he understood and appreciated the Looking Glass so much that they incorporated 11 of them into the exhibit is a big deal to us.
The Bright and Unwritten Future
We're not even two full months into 2020 and it's clear that the best days are still ahead of us. In just a few short weeks we've built brand-new demos for the Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display, finished a 100-chapter blog series covering the possibilities of the Looking Glass, and have begun releasing software tools that unlock new kinds of content that can be pulled into the Looking Glass. We're excited about the things that are coming very soon, and most importantly, to have such an amazing community of Looking Glass lovers with us every step of the way.