Video: Interactive Restaurant Table Uses Portable Hologram Projector

I spotted this video on Linkedin – a hologram projection thingie touted as being part of the restaurant of the future.

It’s interesting, and perhaps one day this sort of thing would get used somewhere, but there are a few things to reasonably note and ask:

  • The video shows the waiter just plopping this puppy down on the table, and doesn’t show the bit with the guy crawling under the table (what if the women are wearing skirts?) plugging the thing into a wall or floor socket (that probably doesn’t exist).
  • The thing uses a little pico projector and those things don’t tend to pump out a lot of lumens, so the real visuals are probably a lot less vivid and sharp (see this other video from the company, Hololamp).
  • This is a one-to-one concept, which means a busy restaurant would need a bunch of units, and in theory a table for four would need several for ordering (where do they fit on the table and where’s the power coming from?), or one gets passed around, which would be amusing to watch with that power cable knocking over water glasses and other stuff.
  • How many restaurants have the budget to pay for this sort of thing, and why would they? They can do razzle-dazzle digital stuff with iPads, which have batteries, dense pixels and serious color reproduction.

Restaurants have done interactive tables here and there, and it can be cool, but projections from overhead that a full table can see make more sense, and I think they need to have pretty amazing content, like this, to get beyond what would short-term wow factor. Cranky people like me would ask for the real menu.


Holographic Display On Coming Smartphone A Precursor To Larger Digital Signage Versions?

A spin-off from HP Labs is working with RED – the high-def digital camera guys – to release a smartphone that features a holographic display – a glimpse at tech that also has digital signage touted as a use-case.

Red Digital Cinema is working with Leia Inc on what’s being billed as the world’s first lightfield “holographic” smartphone – the HYDROGEN ONE. If plans stick, the first units will ship before next summer.

The tech – as you will see watching the video – creates three-dimensional visuals above the flat plane of the smartphone display glass. It is touted as technology that would be used for things like gaming, movie viewing and mixed reality applications.

Leia’s website suggests that beyond the small screen of a smartphone, it can also be used for large-format displays, like those used for signage jobs. So you could imagine this, particularly, in environments like museums and galleries, specialty retail and corporate settings. Imagine a mining company being able to see dimensional visuals of exploration properties.

This lightfield technology is waaaay the hell over my head in terms of what’s going on, but from what I can tell it has to do with a display’s lighting source, adding a Diffractive Lightfield Backlighting (DLB) Layer that SEEMS to replace the more conventional LED edge-lighting source used in most LCDs these days.

That’s all I got. The Leia site is pretty skimpy on detail.

The strategic partnership between RED and Leia is positioned as something that “will leverage RED’s expertise in digital content creation and deep connections in the film industry as well as Leia’s proprietary lightfield display technology and software platform to disrupt the world of mobile entertainment. The Hydrogen program will feature stunning holographic content and 3D sound for movie viewing, interactive gaming, social messaging and mixed reality.”

You can get a little sense of things here:

And this tweet suggest how the holographic layer would be used with interactive screens, like touch tables.

Interesting stuff. Like all 3D and holographic stuff, it is fun to look at. The challenge is to get beyond the eye candy-novelty stage and find applications that benefit  from the visuals NOT being flat.

I recently did a podcast with a company that does hologram-ish displays, and measures success through things like coupon distribution and redemptions in a drug chain.