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It’s Not Quite Holograms, But Getting There: the L3D Cube

It’s Not Quite Holograms, But Getting There: the L3D Cube
technology

A new product from a Brooklyn company that specializes in physical 3D visualizations is the Pong of holograms

Brady Dale
  • 7 january 2015

Consumer applications of holograms are still a long way off. In fact, even the Tupac hologram at Coachella 2012 wasn’t a true hologram. Still, clever makers are coming up with workarounds, and one team in Brooklyn may have brought the world of true, 3D images to the Pong level. You be the judge.

The Looking Glass Factory has a Kickstarter campaign up (that’s already at well over twice its goal) for the L3D Cube.

It’s an 8 x 8 x 8 cube (or a 16 x 16 x 16) made up of multicolor, bright LEDs. They are all driven by Arduino and on a thin enough mounting that enables the eye to effectively see through the mountain. Your brain fills in the gaps as you look. The various lights are able to flash on and off in such a way that they create 3D shapes.

It’s pretty basic geometry at this point. Squares, circles, waves, spirals, that kind of thing. Still, you can see where it’s going. It’s the first iteration of something that will only get more interesting.

Here’s what it looks like now, in a demo with music:

The system comes wired to dance to music. The makers seem to assume that the initial application will be for DJs and events that want to spice up their show. They are built, out of the box, to respond to music. An all open source project, new programs are being built all the time to create new visualizations.

If you want to make your own basic shape with one, the interface lets you do it without coding. You simply pick your lights and indicate a color.

L3D cubers can also communicate with each other, so you can actually make programs that create shapes that move and coordinate across L3D cubes.

This isn’t the only company making strides in this space. 3D screens that don’t require glasses are getting closer, for example.

This is not the Looking Glass’s first foray into unique 3D visualization. In fact, their previous Kickstarter campaign made full color images in 3D inside plastic blocks. No power. No electricity. It’s like having a printed photo in three dimensions. They take a 3D image and then print slices of it onto lots and lots of transparent lucite. They then put the sheets in a vacuum chamber and seal them together. So you get something very real looking like this:

So far the company has come up with two ways to make all new, very different ways of creating three dimensional visuals. It will be interesting to see where they take their ideas next.

Get an L3D Cube with Kickstarter pledge of $399. Estimated delivery: 2015. If this is the Pong level of holograms, who’s going to make the first 3D Pac-Man-like megahit in 3D gaming?

Images: Looking Glass Facebook and Kickstarter Campaign

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L3D Cube

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