Avegant Glyph Mobile Theater is a Breed Apart
Apr20

Avegant Glyph Mobile Theater is a Breed Apart

One of the more recent products to emerge from the Kickstarter world is the Avegant Glyph Mobile Theater, an interesting set of headphones where the headband flips down to serve as a virtual reality screen. The latest in a line of mobile virtual reality headsets, the multimedia Glyph is unlike the gaming-oriented Occulus Rift or SteamVR headsets and is being designed for the masses. However, priced at $500, it is definitely a bit of an investment for the average user. The technology behind the headset’s operation is fascinating. Rather than an image being projected on a screen in front of the eye, the image is beamed directly to the eye, creating sharp, stark images the developers say is unlike anything you’ve seen before. According to the company, “You get noise cancellation headphones when you’re just listening, and razor-sharp, vivid, hi-def, 3D-capable video when you want to watch.” With an initial goal of $250,000, the headset raised a total of $1,509,506 from 3,331...

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Google and Mattel Introduce New & Improved View-Master!
Mar02

Google and Mattel Introduce New & Improved View-Master!

One of the most popular retro childhood toys just received a major upgrade! The beloved View-Master, which has been around in one form or another since it debuted at New York’s World Fair in 1939, has undergone a huge change and is now joining the world of virtual-reality gaming. Over the past couple of decades, the popularity of the View-Master has declined because so many high-tech gadgets had come along to compete. Toy company Mattel finally decided to change that by partnering with Google to update the classic toy. Now, the View-Master has become a tool for virtual reality fantasy and game play.Similar in some ways to the popular Oculus Rift gaming device, the new and improved View-Master resembles the style of the older model, but with a thicker, more modern feel. To play it, you simply download the View-Master app onto your phone and then connect your phone to the device. Designed for ages 7 and up, this new technology opens up doors for both entertainment and education. With it you can take virtual field trips to far away places and learn interesting new facts as you play. For instance, the San Francisco tour takes you to popular tourist attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also go back in time to when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and see the ancient lizards up close. As you view the 360-degree photography around you, informational texts will pop up to tell you more about what you are seeing. This partnership between Mattel and Google is still fairly new, but even more exciting things are planned for the near future. For instance, Mattel plans to add even more gaming features to the new View-Master, including fun interactive treasure hunts for kids. The company plans to integrate old photography footage from the toy’s archives, so classic favorites will likely be available as well. Right now the toy is only compatible with Android phones, but that is set to change before the item hits store shelves later this...

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A Preview of Microsoft’s New Holographic Goggles
Jan23

A Preview of Microsoft’s New Holographic Goggles

Microsoft Corporation has been hard at work for several years developing their latest breakthrough in computing technology. Project HoloLens is a head-mounted holographic computer, similar to Oculus Rift, but with far more powerful capabilities. Project Hololens has an all-new interface—one that can be controlled by voice commands. For example, Project HoloLens (also known as “Baraboo”) has the ability to transport the user, via holographic display, to the surface of Mars. The user can “walk” on Mars and can even be joined by other users in different locations with all connected individuals being able to see and hear each other.  The possibilities for team-based simulations are almost endless. A possible real-world use for this device could take the form of virtual communication concerning the repair of a malfunctioning widget. In reality, the repairman could still be in bed in his own house, but, in the virtual reality world of Hololens, that person could be standing right beside you walking you through what you should check to determine the exact problem, even to the point of drawing virtual arrows and circles to show you what you should do to make the repair. Another feature of this technological marvel is the capability to allow the user to connect to all his or her devices/apps from wherever they happen to be at that moment. The holographic screen projects an image of said app into the air, allowing the user to “tap” the display the same way he or she would on a physical device. But wait… there’s more! Users will also have the ability to sculpt virtual toys, such as snowmen, Barbie dolls and Marvel action figures, and then print them out using a 3D printer. Rapid prototyping just took a huge leap forward. Project HoloLens works by allowing the brain to interpret light signals as matter. Light bounces around violently in what the designers have dubbed the “light engine” of the device. This light then filters its way into the goggle’s eyepieces, where it bounces between multiple layers of green, red and blue glass before finally entering your eyes. All of these “special effects” create the illusion of 3-dimensional matter. Microsoft plans to release Hololens in the spring of 2015. While Magic Leap, the Google equivalent, is expected to be released at approximately the same time, Google declines to comment on the progress of the gadget’s production....

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Holographic Displays Coming to Smartphones?
Jul22

Holographic Displays Coming to Smartphones?

Stereoscopic 3-D images can give many individuals an unnecessary headache. To look at images such as these, it takes extreme mental effort. When you focus on objects in your everyday life, your brain focuses on the same point that your eyes converge. With images such as stereoscopic 3-D images, each of your eyes is presented with a different image, and you have to focus on the screen where the image is supposed to be. Holograms are able to avoid the headache prompting images by producing light right in the spot where your eyes focus: The light goes through the specific point and hits your eyes in the same manner that it would if the object was a physical object. Holograms also have the advantage of being able to work from many different angles and do not require a pair of glasses to see them. Until recent times, holograms required huge projectors and screens or a particular angle for viewing, but Ostendo Technologies and Hewlett-Packard’s spin-off company Leia, have big plans of placing these types of images right in your palm of your hand and fitting in your pocket within a couple years. Many pixels need to be placed in a small space to be able to create this type of image, and the geometry of creating the  images is a difficult task. Having microlenses manufactured to place in front of the light-field display pixels is also problematic because the positions and shapes have to be in the right angle to have the beams at the correct angle. Ostendo’s 3-D images use 1 million little pixels on a chip that consist of Red, Green, and Blue layers of micro-LEDs that sit on top of an image processor that is made of silicon. The pixels are typically in the range of 5 to 10 micrometers on a side. By using the individual pixel layers, each pixel is able to send any color of light out that is focused in a thin beam. Many vertical waveguides deliver the light out from the layers and send it in the right direction. An image processor under each pixel allows for power to be saved and the overall computational load to be lightened. Leia is creating a 3-D image by placing a grid of gratings just behind an everyday LCD screen. The gratings direct the light below them in different directions which creates up to 64 viewing angles for a 3-D video or image. The ultimate goal is to create a system that would be easy to integrate with already existing screens or displays that are transparent. The first commercial product is scheduled to be...

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