What is Lightform? A Projected Augmented Reality device for everyone

Chris Burns - Mar 28, 2017
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What is Lightform? A Projected Augmented Reality device for everyone

The folks at Lightform have a device that scans any environment, creates a high-resolution mesh, and creates AI-generated effects and filters to project back out. Combined with a projector, the Lightform device is able to turn any environment into an augmented reality theater. This device combines the real 3D world with digital projections of light to augment reality without need of any sort of head-mounted hardware.

Lightform is several sorts of device at once. It’s a scanner, first of all – it scans the environment in front of it to make a highly precise mesh. That mesh is then used to compute where surfaces are and what shapes are needed to project light in a precise, targeted way. Lightform sends a video signal to a projector which then projects the light needed to attain the effect.

Lightform scans once and projection can begin. Lightform also periodically scans its environment and “fine-tunes alignment” if anything has moved. In the short video below scans are done with Lightform and projections of light are thrown onto the environment as such. Objects then come alive with light in several different ways.

The folks who made Lightform – a company that also goes by the name Lightform – have been working on projects for several years in stealth mode. They worked with Bot & Dolly to create the infamous Box demo back in 2013. They also worked more recently with Microsoft on Illumiroom.

They’ve come out of the dark, so to speak, this week to announce that they’re launching their company officially. They’ve been in stealth mode for 3 years and are now announcing a $2.6M funding round from the folks at Lux, Seven Seas, NSF, and “the former head scientist at Oculus.” UPDATE: It’s Steven LaValle. Not that that’s particularly important to the average consumer.

The average consumer will want to know how to get this Projected Augmented Reality device – and how much it’ll cost them. Coming with a mobile app as well as a desktop app that’ll make content creation super-duper-easy, the folks at Lightform suggest the device will go on pre-order “this summer.” When we’ll get the real deal, they suggest it’ll cost less than an average laptop – which could mean a lot of things, but likely suggests it costs as much as a high-end smartphone (or a bit more, depending on end functionality).

We’ve sent a few questions to Lightform to get some additional answers. Stick around and see where this is all headed!


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