24.10.18

‘Star Trek Holodeck a reality’: Partnership promises commercial holographic display push

AUTHOR: Apac
Couple in an immersive holographic jungle
[Image via Light Field Lab]

Despite VR technology rapidly increasing in capability and adoption, it’s still not enough for those seeking shared experiences and freedom from glasses and goggles. That demand has seen entrants to the market touting “holographic display” capabilities but most options have failed to make serious inroads and enjoy commercial success.

Now, holographic ecosystem developer Light Field Lab and OTOY, a software company specialising in cloud graphics, aim to change all that with a recent announcement that they will be working together to promote holographic display technologies. Or in their words: make “the Star Trek Holodeck a Reality”.

The partnership will use Light Field Lab’s headgear-free holographic displays and OTOY’s ORBX Technology, an open source and royalty free format for rendering media and real time graphics on Light Field Lab’s displays. 

At the same time entertainment and media company Endeavor and science fiction specialist Roddenberry Entertainment are spearheading development of original content, with OTOY’s RealTime Rendering and Light Field Lab’s display technologies.

Content development is being led by Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, and Rod Roddenberry, CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and executive producer of Star Trek: Discovery.

Emanuel said in a statement: “OTOY has created the capture, rendering and streaming technology for the industry to transition to holographic content development, as well as the RNDR blockchain for IP rights and distribution.

“We’re excited to use this platform to bring true holographic content to Light Field Lab’s displays, which will give consumers unbelievable experiences, without the burden of 3D glasses or VR headsets.”

Light Field Lab says its initial prototype modules will scale to form larger holographic video walls with hundreds of gigapixels of light field for fully immersive holographic experiences. On the OTOY side, the software company says its blockchain GPU compute network [RNDR] will provide the scale to make rendering holographic content for the experiences widely available for the first time. Light Field Lab started demonstrating holographic prototypes with OTOY-rendered content earlier this year to industry stakeholders including Endeavor, Roddenberry Entertainment and Richard Kerris, former CTO of Lucasfilm and Advisor to OTOY.

“I see a lot of display technology marketed as 3D holograms” said Kerris in a statement. “However, most of the things I see are actually just gimmicks. The holographic displays being developed by Light Field Lab, with OTOY’s 3D content, truly does have the potential to be the game changer we’ve been waiting for. The combination of breakthroughs in both rendering and display technologies could very well mark the beginning of a next-gen media revolution.” 

Kerris continued: “Your eyes freely focus on holographic objects without the need to wear glasses to see the 3D. The experience is unlike anything I’ve experienced and gives me hope on seeing their vision of the holodeck eventually come true.”

Both Light Field Lab and OTOY say they will target professional and consumer markets - alongside an end-to-end content creation and distribution ecosystem.

And for Rod Roddenberry, the project is personal. “The concept of the Holodeck was extremely important to my father as well as the Star Trek Universe,” he said about his late father, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek. 

“I want to see Star Trek’s technologies made real, and for the very first time, now believe that a real Holodeck is no longer limited to science fiction. Although it’s early days, my father would be beyond excited to know his vision is coming into reality thanks to OTOY’s trailblazing light field rendering, and the revolutionary holographic display systems created at Light Field Lab.”

Keep an eye out as the developers promise a number of upcoming projects and campaigns that will demonstrate the partnership in action.