Lightform might just be the thing to have at your next party. The San Francisco-based company just created the first computer ever able to connect to a projector and instantly scan 3D scenes to mix reality with projected light.
Not only that, but Lightform just raised $2.6 million in seed funding. Lux Capital, Seven Seas Partners, several angel investors, and the National Science Foundation have invested capital into the project in exchange for an equity stake in the company, making the finished product one step closer to being in a living room near you.
Bilal Zuberi, a partner at Lux Capital noted in a press release:
Lightform bridges the gap between fiction and reality by blending the two in a single physical form. It brings human creativity into our physical world, enabling all surfaces to potentially come alive in a magical way.
The Lightform computer auto-aligns to your content, scans it in 3D, and then, once connected to a projector, works its AR magic around your objects, creating one really unique and engaging scene of light. It doesn't need a headset, or even a flat surface to project on.
Brett Jones, cofounder and CEO of Lightform, stated his inspiration for creating the AR-based technology in the press release:
While at Disney Imagineering eight years ago, I saw a demo of projected AR that was the most compelling VR/AR demo I've ever seen. There was an entire enchanted forest set covered in projection, with lightning and rain, butterflies fluttering across the scene, and a running waterfall. My co-worker threw his ID into the waterfall, and I swore that the ID was wet. The problem was the demo cost millions and only Disney could build it. That's when I knew I wanted to bring this technology everywhere.
The team at Lightform is no stranger to projection mapping either, which is the main technology behind the project. The team has been projecting images onto non-flat surfaces for Box & Dolly's Box, and the team has also created AR prototypes for Microsoft Research. The company has also worked for Disney Imagineering, experimenting with interactive tactile experiences in free air.
Phil Reyneri, Design Director at Lightform, wants ultimately to "give designers the opportunity to seamlessly blend digital content with existing materials and structures."
Lightform's use of projection mapping will be accessible to anyone or anything that could benefit from the computer's advanced 3D scan of everyday common objects on any surface into interactive displays of light and movement.
Lightform's computer combined with a projector was just used at the GMUNK vs MUSE Exhibition in San Francisco. The results are pretty amazing. Check out an example of how the Lightform works in the video below.
The Lightform computer will be available this coming summer, or if you're anxious to get your hands on one sooner, you can put your name on the list for a shot at getting an early invite to experience the Lightform beta.
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