Updated: Feb 3, 2020
XR technologies is a broad umbrella term encompassing various individual terms such as virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality etc. There are a lot of events / conferences throughout the world that are focused on how to bring together stakeholders in the XR community space. In this post we explain how to buy and use hologram devices that are in the mixed reality space.
HOLOFIL falls under the broad term holographic mixed reality displays since it allows combining physical and virtual content. Holographic mixed reality devices are primarily used for product promotions during retail promotions.
In this post we are going to differentiate between these different terminologies step by step.
Virtual reality - This is a term mostly used for head mounted display sets where the user puts on the headset and cuts off from the world surrounding him completely as he gets immersed in the virtual environment.
In a virtual reality headset the user wears the headset and completely cuts him / her off from the surroundings. The headset shows a virtual environment without surroundings thereby transporting the user to a new virtual world away from the real world.
The headsets for virtual reality cost from Euro 10 to hundreds of Euros depending on the complexity they are build with. The simplest version is the Google cardboard (the topmost above) where the user fixes his mobile phone to the cardboard cutout of a flexible headset and using the two stereoscopic glasses looks onto the mobile screen which plays stereoscopic content. The 3D visualization content on the mobile screen is also adjusted to show two side by side views of the slightly shifted images / videos. The two stereoscopic lenses offers a limited view to each of our two eyes and the binocular vision of the eyes does the creating the stereoscopic 3D depth effect.
The projection medium in the virtual reality headsets such as Google cardboard is your mobile phone. For higher end version (the second image above) such as Oculus Rift the graphics are rendered on an external powerful computer with a powerful graphics engine and the rendered data is transferred on the headsets. Oculus Rift thus needs a powerful external graphics processor enabled computer to power high end graphics games and is mainly used by high end graphics / game developers etc.
The third affordable variation is an in between approach of using an embedded computer in the head mounted unit itself. An example of this is Oculus Go which has a self contained display unit so there is no need to put an external mobile phone neither it works with an externally attached computer to drive its graphics. The third / last picture illustrates it.
Oculus Go costs around $200 and has a lot of application support. Oculus Rift costs around $500 and Google cardboard costs around $10. There are a lot of different players in the market in this field and these above examples are just to provide some examples.
Mixed reality : Another type of devices are mixed reality devices where the user wears a headset and can see the actual world around him and the 3D visualization content is overlaid on this surrounded physical world. Some prominent players in this market are Microsoft Holoens and Magic Leap headsets.
Magic Leap one
These head sets are in their earlier version where they still have a lot of limitations in terms of field of view etc. but they offer a great prospect for the future. They primarily consists of depth cameras that can scan the environment and create a point cloud representation. Then they contain cameras that sees the world around, and intelligent photonics displays that overlay this information on the field of view.
The main applications at the moment are in trainings, gaming, education etc. where information can be overlayed on top of existing world. For e.g. imagine you are an aircraft mechanic and are inspecting the engine, so wearing these devices you can be conveyed the information about the maintenance like which parts to touch , inspect, their layout, features etc while you are looking at the parts while wearing these displays.
They are still quite expensive at around above 2000 to 3000 dollars but hopefully in the future their prices will get down.
Augmented reality : Another class of devices are augmented reality devices that uses mobile as a platform and uses mobile's camera to see the real world around it and then places virtual 3D objects in this world.
As an example consider interior of a room and the problem is placing interior furniture in it from a company like IKEA. So using IKEA augmented reality mobile app you can see the room through the camera and place 3D models of their furniture in this room to see how it looks. Augmented reality thus has a lot of different types of applications.
Mixed reality using HOLOFIL : Most of these devices use either head mounted displays or mobile screens for creating different experiences. The approach HOLOFIL uses is another one where we create a mixed reality experience for specific settings where physical objects are placed inside the HOLOFIL device and augmented by surrounding 3D virtual content around it.
For e.g. in this picture on the left HOLOFIL device there is an actual physical toy model of a car that is placed inside the device while it is surrounded by augmented content such as lightning etc. that helps promote the car as an object.
HOLOFIL can thus be used to create interesting experiences for promotions etc. by placing the physical objects inside and creating eye-catchy content around it. This is another way to present mixed reality to the audience.
The applications in the areas of virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality are plenty and what is needed is to find how to best optimize them in an affordable way to offer great visual experiencs for the end users to keep them engaged with the brand. We believe HOLOFIL as a mixed reality player can help that to the brands in a novel way.