Take off your virtual reality headset and give the HoloLamp a whirl

HoloLamp is a portable, self-contained augmented reality experience that’s sort of like virtual reality goggles without the goggles. The device is on display at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The HoloLamp experience is glasses-free and hands-free, and uses a computer, cameras, and a pico projector to create a 3D illusion on all sorts of surfaces. It’s meant to create an immersive experience similar to that of VR glasses without the hindrance of a headset or controls.

“The smart glasses and headset industry have been tirelessly working to deliver a mainstream augmented reality experience, though they have been unsuccessful in developing a product that consumers actually want to wear,” HoloLamp cofounder Guillaume Chican said in a statement. “The hands-free and glasses-free technology allows users to easily engage with their surroundings while using HoloLamp, making it an ideal solution for numerous business and personal environments.”

Beyond the virtual reality experience, HoloLamp reportedly uses real, physical objects to create new and interesting ways to interact with an everyday space. Gaming applications are particularly suited for HoloLamp, as are educational simulations of historical artifacts. The technology has the potential to also render 3D versions of human avatars to improve communication.

Game design software Unity is used to create the objects displayed by the device. The device doesn’t actually project 3D objects, but instead warps an image into something that looks 3D to human eyes. Further manipulation of an object is implemented with HoloLamp through a PlayStation 4 controller, though users will be able to control objects by surface touch in the future.

“We see the world in 3D because our brain knows we live in a 3D world, but a subtle change from technology is enough to make your brain think the 2D projections it’s seeing [are] real 3D objects,” company cofounder Alan Jay said in a statement. “Our system uses a camera-based, face-tracking system to know where your eyes are, and as you move. it alters the projection as if you were looking at a real 3D object.”

As the technology evolves, HoloLamp expects the device to supplement gaming, communication, education, and science. Pre-orders for HoloLamp will begin in the first quarter of 2017. Pricing information is not currently available.

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