Back in January, the realm of electronics was caught in a furor over Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset. But in the meantime, Canadian start-up H+ has seemingly caught up with the holographic tech trend, as is evident from their Kickstarter-driven Holus. Envisioned as an interactive holographic display, the platform is touted to convert any 2D digital content into a 3D holographic ‘experience’. In other words, the device has the (claimed) ability to transform your two-dimensional content from computer, tablet or smartphone (like board games, maps and even teleconferences) into a proper 3D hologram. And, by ‘proper’ we mean the images will maintain their singular 3D profile from whichever angle we perceive them.
In terms of technology, this is a form of optical illusion known as Pepper’s Ghost – with a similar installation being used in 2012’s Coachella music festival that featured a ‘live’ Tupac Shakur. Holus sort of extends this conventional technique by integrating the scope of 3D projection. That is done with the help of a coated plexiglass prism kept inside the pictured microwave-like box. So when four images of the same object are beamed onto the walls of this prism, they combine to form a single 3D profile from all viewing angles. User can also interact with these 3D images through motion-tracking and other specific input interfaces – like Kinect, Leap Motion and even the ‘mind-controlled’ Emotiv Brain Sensor.
Now, the question naturally arises – why would we use Holus? Well, according to the company, the platform pertains to a ‘social campfire’ experience which brings users together when it comes to both real-life events and entertainment (as opposed to more isolated usage patterns of personalized devices). And given the evolved nature of interaction with a 3D ambit, this can potentially demonstrate its advantages in both offices and schools – with more people being keen to try out the holographic aspects. To that end, the contraption also includes complementary features like a music visualizer, a voice-controlled assistant known as Omi, a holographic character library app, smartphone-charging USB ports, tablet dock, WiFi, and Bluetooth. And furthermore, H+ has already slated the platform’s compatibility with leading game engines like Unity and Unreal, thus opening the door for developers who can commercially contribute to Holus-specific content and software.
Lastly, since we brought up the commercial side of affairs, the Holus (which currently exists in its prototype stage) is expected to be available in two variant versions – Pro and Home. Among them, the slightly-larger Pro will come with a HDMI port and SDK tool for development of specific apps. As for the crowdfunded scope, the Holus platform has already passed its CAD 50,000 (or around $40,000) Kickstarter goal, with CAD 169,770 being pledged as of writing. Pricing starts from $850.