This Sneaky Little Gadget Can Turn Your Home Into a VR Playground

Million-dollar projection mapping for the price of a laptop

March 31, 2017 9:00 am

Projection mapping has been hypnotizing crowds for years: on the Sydney Opera House, on Bucharest’s Palace of the Parliament and inside this mystical Box. Until now, it’s been reserved for companies willing to pay top dollar (Disney and the like). But soon, any bloke will be able to turn their house into an augmented reality fantasy.

All you need is a projector, a room and a little box called Lightform.

Lightform (3 images)

Here’s how it works: Plug into a standard projector, it will scan an entire room in less than a minute, then automatically project AI-generated effects of your choosing onto the 3D surfaces. The examples they give are undulating lines and items on a cafe menu, but the ceiling’s the limit here — in the best possible way.

Don’t fancy yourself tech savvy enough to create a homegrown wonderland? “If you can use Photoshop, you can use Lightform,” cofounder Brett Jones told Fast Company. “We want to create instant magic.” And then control that magic from your computer or smartphone.

Jones and the rest of the Lightform team have been at the forefront of augmented reality for a while. Apart from the mind-bending Box installation mentioned above, they’re also behind Microsoft’s Illumiroom — which expands a TV screen onto surrounding surfaces — and RoomAlive — which turns an entire room into a 3D touchscreen. For their latest venture, they’ve put in three years of work and raised $2.6 million, according to Fast Company.

Where Lightform differs, and where its genius lies, is in the stellar results from such a simple setup. Here it is in action in the sculptural installation Currents:

The price hasn’t been announced beyond being “less than most laptops.” But taking a wild guess, an affordable hologram generator will sell like hotcakes, so best put your name in for the summer preorder now.

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