The HoloPlayer One Lets Users Interact with “3D Holograms”

A startup called Looking Glass Factory (Brooklyn, NY) has debuted a display device called the HoloPlayer One. The device has been widely reported in the popular press as a “hologram viewing device.”

Let me start by saying that I have been writing articles for Display Daily since early in 2007. The comment that I have made the most about display products and technologies – by far – is that the claim that they produce a hologram is not correct. Apart from merits that the HoloPlayer may have, it does not produce a hologram. Rather, the HoloPlayer One, despite the product name but as properly explained on the Looking Glass Factory web site, is a type of light field display.

A photo of the HoloPlayer appears in the left hand portion of the figure below. The explanation of the operating principle of the device that follows makes reference to the right hand portion of the figure.

HoloPlayer 2The HoloPlayer (Left). The Operation of the HoloPlayer (right).

The HoloPlayer One is composed of a liquid crystal display having a resolution of 2560 x 1600. A 50 lens per inch linear lenticular array is mounted on top of the LCD. The “geometry” is such that 32 views of a given scene are simultaneously directed towards their designated directions. The result can be thought of as a “field of light.” As such, the virtual scene occupies the same physical volume which a real scene that occupied the same physical volume would have produced. The field of light is then retro-reflected to form a real image outside of the HoloPlayer One. Also called an aerial image, the image seems to exist in midair.

Since 32 views are available for viewing, latency issues commonly experienced in eye-tracked 3D display systems do not occur with the HoloPlayer One display. In addition, the HoloPlayer One display system can support multiple viewers. Any number of viewers within a 50º field of view will be able to see the same aerialized scene at the same time without the need for any head-mounted device such as glasses.

The HoloPlayer One display system is equipped with the Intel RealSense SR300 depth-sensing camera. This allows users to interact with the aerialized scene in a natural manner – such as by grabbing, pinching, touching and swiping.

The company is offering two versions of the HoloPlayer One. Both models rely on the same hardware to produce the holograms. The Development Edition requires that the display be attached to a computer. The Premium Casing Edition has a processor inside the display allowing it to work independently of a computer. The Development Edition sells for $750 while the Premium Casing Edition sells for $3,000.

Some of the specifications of the two models are as follows.

The Development Edition requires HDMI connection to a MacBook Pro or PC equivalent.

  • Dimensions: 12.9 x 11.8 x 1.7 inches (32.8 x 30 x 4.32 cm)
  • Weight: 5.3 pounds (2.4kg)
  • Components
    • 2k screen
    • Two, 3W speakers
    • Intel RealSense Camera SR300
    • Four click buttons + one touch button
  • Connections
    • Micro USB 3.0 for Intel RealSense Camera SR300
    • USB type C for power input
    • HDMI input
    • 2 USB ports for adapting input device (one consumed by 3D calibration data)

The Premium Casing Edition comes with a built-in PC based on an Intel Core i7 processor.

  • Dimensions: 13.9 x 9.5 x 11.9 inches (35.3 x 24.3 x 30.2 cm)
  • Weight: 11 pounds (5 kg)
  • Components
    • 2k screen
    • Two, 3W speakers
    • Intel RealSense Camera SR300
  • Connections
    • 5 barrel connector for power input
    • HDMI secondary output
    • 1 MicroUSB Port for Power
    • 1 USB 3.0 Port for Intel RealSense Camera SR300

A video illustrating the operation of the HoloPlayer One can be found at the end of this article.

One on-line review of the HoloPlayer offers the following comments:

“Although the HoloPlayer One’s screen has an acceptable resolution, users will not see a crisp, bright image on the device. Instead it is blurred and dim. This happens because the HoloPlayer’s screen is reflected into 32 different depth planes, which gives you an effective 267 x 480 resolution for the resulting 3D image.”

The review goes on to confirm that the “holograms” really do float above the surface of the HoloPlayer One. “When your finger touches, say, the tip of an X-Wing, your finger is actually coinciding with the digital 3D tip of that X-Wing in real meatspace.”

The HoloPlayer One is scheduled to ship during April, 2018. -Arthur Berman