What is HoloLamp?

Current Augmented Reality (AR) solutions are based on looking through systems be those glasses / phones / tablets or other devices they mix reality with the augmentation but fail in so many ways.  Glasses based ones reduce the field of view (and sometimes are uncomfortable), while viewing through a phone or other device places the screen at arms length and makes the interaction less immersive and your hands are being used to hold the screen.

However there is a branch of Augmented Reality that copes with these issues, Spatial Augmented Reality delivers a glasses free and hands free Augmented Reality experience using the way our eyes perceive 3D objects to allow you to perceive a 3D experience.  The systems do this by tracking the users eyes and projecting the image they would expect to see if it was a 3D object.  There are numerous works of art that play on the way our eyes perceive flat projections of 3D objects and make them come to live.  Spatial Augmented reality does this with moving images on any surface by mapping the surface and tracking the user the image projected is warped so that from the users point of view it is what they would expect to see as a 3D holographic effect.

A number of research labs have been working on this for fixed installations using complex fixed projector setups but the demos are still at the research stage.  HoloLamp is a desktop version of this Spatial Augmented Reality projection system combining a pico projector and cameras, when attached to a computer and using a 3D environment created in Unity the user can experience a hands and glasses free spatial augmented reality experience.  It uses computer vision and machine learning to optimise the effect as you watch the game or interact with your lego mini-figs.  HoloLamp have a number of demo videos showing some of the ideas that are currently being worked on but any environment where seeing and interacting with a 3D model could be a candidate for this type of environment.

The HoloLamp project is focusing on three areas of applications, video games, education and communications.  The demos available already include an animated chess game that is inspired by the games played in Harry Potter and Star Wars.

There is also a special effects pack for Lego that allow your lego minifigs to interact via the AR environment.

New way to play with Lego

Before the digital era, children used to play with building systems like lego and meccano etc, which had the benefit to activate their imagination. New virtual games show a more realistic representation, but they tend to isolate the child, to leave them alone with the screen and to cut them off from the real world. These games do not activate the child’s imagination or build their interpersonal relationships anymore.

HoloLamp creates a mixed reality space, where the child building set coexists with virtual objects which enrich its environment in real time, enabling the child's imagination.

Our development team is working on the creation of a special effects pack dedicated to buildings sets for children. HoloLamp algorithms capture the game environment geometry during initialization. The captured objects are then tracked in real time by using computer vision algorithms, so that HoloLamp is aware of the position of each object. Therefore, special effects interact with real objects.

For example, HoloLamp enables the child to add laser beams in Lego battlefields between Stormtroopers and soldiers of the Rebel Alliance. Virtual laser beams collide with real Lego, which geometry has been captured by HoloLamp. The device introduces a new way to play with Lego, and rehabilitates the constructive role of children's games.