Orbis Holographics show off 1080p holograms at VivaTech

Startups in France are doing some really interesting things and one out of Paris is Orbis Holographics. I had the chance to spend some time with their head of...

Startups in France are doing some really interesting things and one out of Paris is Orbis Holographics. I had the chance to spend some time with their head of technology and find out more about their projection technology. The company makes screens and boxes that display video content from multiple angles creating a hologram.

I first seen holograms back at CES a few years ago, they were incredibly limited and to be honest, nowhere near production-ready. Now the resolution of their latest offering is 1920 x 1080 and the screens come in 1.2.3 and even all 4 sides depending on the commercial application required, and of course budget.

The company that’s only just over a year old is already making retail sales, so don’t be surprised if you walk into a retail store and see a hologram in the next few years. The idea here is for specialty products to be showcased above and beyond what’s on the store shelves. Think of your supermarket featured sale items right now, their goal is to draw your attention and there’s probably no better way to do that, than a hologram.

Orbis offers a number of products in different sizes, but the 2 they took to VivaTech this year was the HD3. These measure are 56cm long, 34.2cm high and 420cm wide. This size allows the displayed content to be seen at a decent size and after spending some time with them at the conference, they certainly stand out. It’s not just the fact they’re a transparent video, but that there’s lots of movement and colour in the video animations to draw your attention and when you get off axis, you still see the product.

As an advertiser, I’d love this.

Orbis have partnered with Cube Creative a digital media agency, to create content for companies, or you can buy the hardware and roll your own if you have the means. The hardware box is something retailers can buy, install in their store(s) and manage themselves. All it takes is a USB key in the top with content in the right format (WMV, MP4, AVI, MPEG1/2/4 using H.264 or VC-1 codecs. The files just need the correct metadata attached. This means the update process is importantly simple, so should a product update need to be loaded on the HD3, the staff would be capable of doing performing the update.

The demo running here showed the same video broadcast to all available sides of the display, but it is technically possible to have video rendered from 4 different angles displayed on the (up to) 4 different sides of the display (on the XXL3 model).

The only downside right now (aside from a 4K resolution – that’s coming) is the sub-optimal experience when you look at the hologram from 45 degree angle, on the plane where the 2 pieces of glass intersect. This is being worked on and with the refraction removed, it should fool the eye to really appear as a 3D, animated object floating in space.

These cubes also feature 2x 10w speakers so if your content has audio, you don’t have concern yourself with an additional audio setup.

For now the content is simple a video stream, not interactive, but the developer is prototyping interactive experiences with Microsoft Kinect which would allow users in-store to select different products for more information and increase engagement.

They’re also experimenting with interactivity using the EMOTIV Epoc that tracks your thoughts. Its early stages here, but great to see the startup considering more use cases than simple in a jewelry store or on the end of the isle at the grocery store.

Orbis Holographics are at VivaTech seeking early stage seed funding, as well as new employees to join, as well as financial and technical partners to take their business further.

More information at http://orbis-prod.fr/

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