Here at Next Reality, our typical approach to all things augmented reality involves vision combined with remote control, either via a handheld device, gauze control, or hand / finger tracking.
But a new dynamic takes the notion of interaction with virtual content into a new realm: touching virtual objects, sort of. Brooklyn, New York-based startup Looking Glass Factory.
Kickstarter campaign around this time last year. The fundraising goal was just $ 50,000, but the team managed to raise a whopping $ 1,344,000.
Despite being staunchly supportive of the Kickstarter, I'm not really surprised a more established technology brand has not waded into any waters in any mainstream, aggressive fashion. Ok, here's where I come clean: From day one, I've never been a fan of the Looking Glass. First off, it's not really what I'd call augmented reality, it would be more in the realm of holograms, which are generally stationary and require some non-wearable apparatus to project the 3D imagery
What is Is & Is not
In a time.
In a time When we're ready to do it, we're going to say it's time to look at it. " and then, "Is not this, on some level, a half step backward?" Looking forward to ask for it as well.
For its part, the Looking Glass team has a distinct view as its role in the virtual interface ecosystem. The website states: "Tech companies have put forth AR and VR as solutions." In our tireless quest for immersion, we have forgotten the best 3D experience of all. Nice pitch, but I still think this is not the future of virtualized content. Nevertheless, I do not know what it's really about
versions of the Looking Glass system, including the Standard Version, which sells for $ 600, and the large version, which sells for $ 3,000. So I got a chance to test out the New Looking Glass Pro, which debuted last month and what part of the inspiration to revisit the unique dynamic offered by the company.
Previously, the only available versions of the Glass available needed to connect to external Windows PC (via USB and HDMI) to function. That's the case for the two initial versions of the device. You'll need a PC with a minimum of 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, an Intel Core i5 CPU, and a GPU equivalent to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. (The company notes that this is a new MacBook Pro with a Core i5 or
How to Use It
Generally, the company presents the device as an assistive tool for 3D designers looking for a quick and easy way to get their 3D models and animations.
Some experiences required that I'm interacting with the device via its touchscreen, on the Pro version, while that 196 that track track hand via hand via hand via hand via hand via hand via hand via hand via hand via hand via hand.
The most basic version of the device delivers on the original Kickstarter promised. You're ready to view 3D objects suspended in the box from all angles. In effect, it's like looking at an image or video frozen in a tiny block of translucent reality.
Where things get a bit more interesting when you add the Leap Motion to the setup. Using the now familiar hand-tracking dynamic of Leap Motion, as well as manipulating virtual particles in the looking glass device, as well as reach out and virtually touch 3D characters in a surprisingly realistic manner. Ultrahaptics (which recently acquired Leap Motion)
The dynamics above allow the Looking Glass to perform well as a curio object to hold floating objects in 3D, or as another method to test a 3D object. But those are, in my opinion, the edge cases.
It's in the new Looking Glass Pro that the innovative approach really shines by adding the touch screen interface. Although the Leap Motion gesture interface has improved over the years, I still find it to be imprecise at times, so this touch screen also takes a look at the Looking Glass section.
Whether the use is as a 3D diagram in a doctor's office for patients, or as a product demonstration display in a retail setting (cars, toys, real estate, etc.),
Just by adding the touch screen, the Looking Glass team has taken a very cool curiosity and made it into something with dead simple and multiple potential use cases. And beyond practical business applications,
Some AR devices, no matter how low priced, are characterized by being a nagging varnish of user friendliness.
Although you can not handle and manipulate the virtual objects, the touchscreen-enabled Looking Glass Pro could be the perfect 3D virtual interface stationary high-end AR (ARKit on iPhone, ARCore on Android devices).
Looking Glass Pro is becoming more and more robust and intuitive at the low end.
Alas, because AR hardware and software are evolving so rapidly, the Looking Glass Pro seems more like a temporary solution with a limited life span of perhaps around five years or so. Of course, when wearable AR is more mainstream-friendly, the Looking Glass Pro could not stick around in various incarnations as public-facing access ports into the virtual world.
I think the real key to the product's possible taking off is the company's decision to make the Looking Glass Pro an all-in-one device, making it so simple to use, it may be hard to resist for some.
I've often had discussions with AR insiders about the prices of various devices, as in, "What price point is best to rock a particular AR into the mainstream?" Still, some AR devices, no matter how low-priced, are characterized by a nagging lack of user-friendliness. That's not the case with the Looking Glass Pro. I believe if the Looking Glass has been purchased for a few hundred dollars, you'd see these things almost everywhere, fairly quickly.
But at a hefty $ 6,000, I'm not sure the Looking Glass can attract enough buyers in the short time window wearable AR becomes ubiquitous to be viable long term. But anything is possible. Maybe the company wants to dramatically reduce the price.
The Looking Glass Pro is a great idea. AR is maturing in the background. Yet, ultimately, the device's future remains as a mainstream tool augmented reality unfolds without it.