Alongside laser blasters, flying cars, cyborgs, and freakishly intelligent A.I., the concept of the hologram sits among the list of things that represent the ultimate archetypes of popular sci-fi.
Ever since R2D2 beamed out a looping hologram of Princess Leia asking Obi-wan Kenobi for help in A New Hope, many people have fantasized about what it would be like to have real and convincing – not to mention interactive – holograms in the real world.
Would it be just like in sci-fi? Or would it work differently to what we’d all expect?
As it turns out, we might not have to wait too long to find out.
Just like in the movies.
San Diego-based tech company IKIN is currently working to create an accessory for smartphones that will translate images from smartphones into crisp real-life holograms.
By using a lens made from a proprietary chemical polymer, the accessory will act as an attachment that matches a smartphone’s dimensions, and will supposedly be able to create holograms that are clear, and more importantly, viewable in broad daylight.
The project kicked off in 2017 when current CEO Joe Ward met with current CTO Taylor Scott to talk about a new product that Scott had developed that would allow “holograms to exist in ambient light with no headgear and no goggles.”
Following developments on the concept, the company is now close to creating a working market-ready sample that will basically unseat other current hologram technologies that require low-light surroundings to operate effectively.
Plus, the technology even comes with full touch interactivity – meaning that users can actually touch the holograms to perform certain actions, and it also comes equipped with artificial intelligence (A.I.) that learns to provide better experiences depending on the environment and user’s habits.
Showing off its tech to resellers and investors at the virtual 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), IKIN’s founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) said that “people for years have thought of holographic communication as sort of idealized magical future, and that is actually 2021.”
“This is the first iteration of a brand new form of technology. Not only that but it’s delivering on that conceptual promise of (the hologram of) Princess Leia,” Scott said. “As far as emotionally engaging in human experiences on the mobile phone, this is the quantum leap that brings us to that futuristic idea that we have dreamed of for years.”
And as for what others think of the project, an analyst for Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology James Brehm has mentioned the concept and actual product as being “a no-brainer” in terms of real-world use, and expects there to be quite a bit of interest from smartphone makers and wireless network operators.
“Carriers need 5G applications,” he said. “This gives them something really cool to build on.”
A whole hologram ecosystem.
To give the tech some momentum when it eventually launches (the company thinks it will happen in late 2021), IKIN will do its best to make the platform easy for app developers to use and build on.
While IKIN is already creating 3D hologram content on its own, the plan is to have third-party developers license the technology (currently named RYZ) and create content for the platform while consumers purchase the accessory to make use of it.
Citing some examples, IKIN says that the hologram scan be used in video games, where players can use the displayed hologram as a secondary controller or interactive feature.
Aside from gaming, holograms can also be used to view images in a gallery, where the user can rotate the image using gestures or swipe on the hologram to see the next image, or in video conferencing, where holograms may provide some added real-world depth.
“It has a lot of applications outside gaming,” said CEO Ward. “Multi-screen functionality, interaction with social media, we’re really going to leverage that whole ecosystem.”
Article by Dale John Wong
Original article found here.