New hardware lets any computer run an interactive, 3D interface

(From Ars Technica) My first experience with a hologram was, like so many other people's, completely fictional: a small, blue figure projected from R2-D2 in the original Star Wars. About a decade later, I got a taste of the real-world state of the art from New York City's Museum of Holography, now closed. Holograms did exist in all their 3D glory, but they were static. You committed to displaying one image when the hologram was made, and that was it. No animated messages from princesses.

But there has been progress since. Holographic displays with actual refresh rates—albeit painfully slow ones—and other approaches have been described, but products based on any of this have yet to appear. Meanwhile, non-holographic approaches to 3D have taken off. TV and movie screens feature 3D viewing with simple glasses but don't allow interactions. Immersive goggles and gear do allow interaction, but only for the people wearing the goggles, which isolates them from anyone nearby.

So we were intrigued when Shawn Frayne, founder of the Brooklyn-based company Looking Glass, offered us the chance to have a look at what they're calling Holoplayer One. It's a 3D projection system that lets users interact with the projected images, all without goggles or glasses. And, perhaps most importantly, it was almost ready for market.