The Looking Glass Portrait brings 3D holography and design to your palm

Designed by the Looking Glass Factory, this "memory machine" is touted to be the world’s first digital holographic display, adding a dynamic angle to still photos.

by STIRworldPublished on : Feb 06, 2021

From the pantheon of Star Wars films to the towering holograms scaling hundreds of floors in the science fiction classic Blade Runner , holographic technology has been a staple of sci-fi and fantastical representations everywhere. However, in the 21st century, Holograms are still bordering on the precipice between fantasy and reality. We have all seen a rudimentary version of these come to life through layers and layers of vinyl stickers superimposed over each other, but the technical prowess of this century finally seems to have paved the way for a practical, digital, multi-medium solution to create holograms within a medium: the Looking Glass Portrait. Thanks to Looking Glass Factory, holograms can now be part of commonplace home accessories. The Looking Glass Portrait allows you to showcase your photographs in 3D, letting you view them from different angles without the need for special 3D glasses or equipment.

  • The Looking Glass Portrait is a digital 3D canvas that displays your images in 3D | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    The Looking Glass Portrait is a digital 3D canvas that displays your images in 3D Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory
  • The Looking Glass Portrait has a compact size similar to a desk photo frame | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    The Looking Glass Portrait has a compact size similar to a desk photo frame Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory
  • Azure Kinect is a peripheral used in the device to record holographic videos | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    Azure Kinect is a peripheral used in the device to record holographic videos Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory
  • The gadget’s design is compact from all sides and angles| The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    The gadget’s design is compact from all sides and angles Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory

The Looking Glass Portrait has a 7.9 inch display, similar to a desk photo frame, with the ability to add photos from your phone using its portrait mode to create 3D images using that depth of field, or by using multiple camera pictures stitched together and even actual 3D models. Adding depth and dynamism to still pictures, the product design is powered by re-designed proprietary optics and dramatically improved ambient anti-reflective properties, which makes the images ‘float’ out of the device, creating an illusion of dynamism and motion. An additional edge: a 3.5mm audio jack to enable speaker or peripheral device connectivity for videographic presentation, allowing your holograph to ‘talk’.

  • Images in the Looking Glass Portrait move inside the frame and with one click they stop still | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    3D Images move inside the frame and stop with one click Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory
  • The Looking Glass Portrait’s display is perhaps the most high-definition holographic display | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    The Looking Glass Portrait’s display is perhaps the most high-definition holographic display Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory

Without putting on 3D glasses, eye-tracking, or headsets, the Looking Glass Portrait can be viewed at once by multiple people, each seeing a unique stereoscopic view of the holograms generated. It achieves so by generating upto hundred perspectives of a 3D image and simultaneously projecting those perspectives on its display, resulting in holograms with additional depth and layers, share the makers.

The device can work as a second monitor to a PC or Mac and also on standalone mode | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
The device can work as a second monitor to a PC or Mac and also on standalone mode Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory

The Looking Glass Portrait comes with all the hardware and software chops required to bring out the best holographic experience. The device works even in the tethered mode with PCs and Macs, surpassing the need for sophisticated hardware to even view simple holographic media. Thanks to its built-in computer and a proprietary holographic software stack that can run high-fidelity recorded holographic media at 60fps, it is the first system with a Standalone Mode: plug in the Looking Glass Portrait into power via the included USB-C cable and you are good to go.

  • Users can use the Portrait Mode in iPhones to create holographic images | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    Users can use the Portrait Mode in iPhones to create holographic images Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory
  • The Looking Glass can record holographic videos with phones with Portrait mode | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    The Looking Glass can record holographic videos with phones with Portrait mode Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory
  • Users can send their holographic video messages to other users | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
    Users can send their holographic video messages to other users Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory

Owing to the new HoloPlay software and new capture capabilities in phones like iPhone X, 11 and 12, one can upload, edit and load about 1,000 pieces of holographic media, turning pictures of your dearest memories into holographic photographs. The experience gets even the more excitable with the option available to create holographic video messages on an infinite loop.

With its headquarters in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and additional operations in Hong Kong, Looking Glass Factory reveals that with the capabilities of Azure Kinect, Intel RealSense™ and iPhone cameras with Portrait mode, users can capture holographic video and share it with other Looking Glass Portrait users.

Advanced users using multiple supported software can create interactive 3D art pieces | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
Advanced users using multiple supported software can create interactive 3D art pieces Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory

Advanced users and someone interested in pushing the device to its limits can create a range of interactive applications, animated 3D characters and 3D art using multiple supported integrations and development software such as UnrealⓇ engine, UnityⓇ, AutodeskⓇ MayaⓇ, and Blender. Coming in at 1.3 lb (660g), this portrait-oriented system is not only an advanced holographic display, it is also promises to be one of the most affordable and user-friendly technologies in its category for anyone who wants to view, create, and experience true-to-life, 3D holographic images, video and applications right on their desk.

The Looking Glass Portrait resembles the magical feel of interactive paintings in Harry Potter | The Looking Glass Portrait | The Looking Glass Factory | STIRworld
The Looking Glass Portrait resembles the magical feel of interactive paintings in Harry Potter Image: Courtesy of The Looking Glass Factory

“Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of the moment that I’d be able to have a holographic display of my own,” says Shawn Frayne, CEO of Looking Glass Factory. “I imagined what it would be like to send someone a holographic birthday message, or to say hello as a hologram to my great-great-great granddaughter. Looking Glass Portrait, the culmination of six years of work by our Brooklyn and Hong Kong based team, makes those dreams real for more people than ever before.”

(Text by Sharmin Oanali, intern at STIRworld.com)

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