An early prototype test of the Looking Glass Portrait, which took place in early 2020. (Image Credit: Looking Glass Factory)
Looking Glass Factory has recently unveiled its new Looking Glass Portrait, a portrait-oriented 3D display designed for people and characters. The Portrait can be purchased through the company’s Kickstarter campaign for $349, a more affordable price than its previous light field display. It’s capable of operating as a standalone device that supports portrait mode photos from the iPhone to produce holograms, which could replace traditional photo frames. Looking Glass Portrait is available for $249 throughout the pre-order period, and after that, the price increases to $349. Early Bird orders are expected to start shipping in March 2021, with normal orders following in April.
The Portrait displays holographic photos, videos, and 3D models in a 58 degree viewing cone, which is similar to experiencing 3D visuals, but without using special glasses or headgear. Looking Glass Factory says its display uses light field and volumetric display technologies. This means that the display refracts light through glass and projects it to several parts of the screen, causing viewers to see a 3D image/video. It also generates 45 to 100 different perspectives of a 3D image/video, allowing multiple people to view the hologram at the same time. What’s more impressive is that videos can be played back at up to 60fps.
Users can record holographic video messages by using depth cameras like the Azure Kinect and Intel RealSense, or with the iPhone X, 11, and 12. (Image Credit: Looking Glass Factory)
The 7.9” 4:3 display, which is powered by new optics, has a 2048x1536 resolution. Portrait comes with HDMI, USB-C, and 3.5 stereo audio jack ports to transfer media to and from the device. This display requires it to be connected to a power source, but the built-in Raspberry Pi 4 allows it to be paired with a PC or Mac for heavy 3D apps or used in standalone mode as a 3D photo and video player. Users can also upload their photos, videos, and 3D models to the Portrait by using Looking Glass Factory’s HoloPlay Studio software. Apart from that, the device can be connected to Microsoft’s Azure Kinect, Intel’s RealSense or a Leap Motion Controller to play around with more interactive holograms.
Portrait can store up to 1,000 pieces of 3D content, which includes holographic photos captured using the iPhone X, 11, and 12, animated 3D characters, and other media. It also allows a user to record 3D video messages and send them to other Looking Glass device owners. When paired with a PC, Azure Kinect and similar depth-sensing cameras can be used with PC and Mac apps, such as Unreal Engine, Unity, Autodesk, Maya, and Blender for 3D application and art development. Additionally, a face tracking app converts a user’s facial movements into animation. This feature shows how this tech could power holographic teleconferencing with realistic 3D human avatars.
The device can be used as a holographic photo frame. It displays stereoscopic images from Apple TrueDepth, Intel RealSense, and Microsoft Azure Kinect depth cameras or 3D modeling tools with what looks like a deep 3D box. It also supports Paraview, Kitware, and Schrodinger’s Maestro for very precise 3D objects. By using conventional cameras, users can produce highly detailed holograms for professional applications like databases of parts or people.
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