Holographic tables are a form of volumetric display and they aren’t new. However current models can only support one user at a time. They work by using projection mapping along with head tracking to give a dynamically reprojected 3D view as the user moves around freely.
A clever idea and it must be fairly impressive to experience it – but only having a single person able to look at any one time means that it has little advantage over head tracked VR such as the Vive or Rift.
An Australian company called Euclideon has cracked the problem:
“When you’re wearing these glasses, the table is able to track the position of each of your eyes, and build a custom image for each eye. Using frequency separation crystal films in both the table surface and the glasses, up to eight separate images can be sorted out from what looks to the naked eye like a jumble of coloured light, allowing up to four people to experience a binocular stereo image that looks remarkably like the way holograms are depicted in Star Wars and a thousand other movies.”
So – 4 users is better than 1 but it’s still a not enough for public demos. There is another catch. The current model has a price tag of $47,000
Still – it shows an interesting way forward and it’s an approach that hadn’t really occurred to me before.