Augmented Reality (AR) allows users to engage with digital content in the most immersive way imaginable. From improved field-of-vision to 3D gesture-controlled interaction, AR technology has grown by leaps and bounds and is quite a versatile platform. AR’s potential is limited only by developers’ imagination, which according to a recent Press Release by San Francisco-based Lightform, appears to be limitless.
Projection Mapping Technology
Backed with $2.6 million in seed money from Lux Capital and Seven Seas Partners, Lightform plans to build a hybrid computer/3D scanner designed to project augmented reality. By simply connecting Lightform’s AR device to any projector using an HDMI cable, you can turn complex objects into a display surface for video projection. This form of AR technology is called ‘Projection Mapping,’ which allows users to map an entire scene in 3D and subsequently mask the image back onto its framework.
Brett Jones, Lightform’s Co-Founder and CEO, explains his first encounter with projection mapping while working 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 projected, 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 only problem was that the demo lost millions and only Disney could build it. That’s when I knew I wanted to bring this technology to everyone.”
AR without the Headset
Described as “Augmented Reality without the headset,” projection mapping is a highly complex process that involves expensive equipment and decades of experience. Thankfully, Lightform plans to change all that – making it accessible across all mediums using advanced computer vision.
“We believe projected light is inherently more interesting than a flat screen because it can be overlaid on the existing environment,” said Phil Reyneri, Design Director at Lightform. “This gives designers the opportunity to seamlessly blend digital content with existing materials and structures. We want to democratize the medium so it can be used anywhere across film, art, education, cultural exhibits, events, signage, home entertainment, weddings, seasonal décor, theater, dance, and more.”
Lightform’s computer starts working its AR magic as soon as it connects to a video projector. From there, a series of patterns are recognized by an onboard camera and used to create a point cloud and 3D model. Making a high-resolution mesh in under a minute, Lightform can then interact with the projector to fit any desired image onto the surface of this object.
Bridging the Gap
“Lightform bridges the gap between fiction and reality by blending the two in a single form,” said Bilal Zoberi, Partner at Lux Capital. “It brings digital creativity into the physical world, enabling all surfaces to potentially come alive in a magical way… They’re making projection mapping accessible to everyone, from artists to businesses to consumers.”
From artists who want to use this technology to sync music with captivating visuals to the advertising agency interested in projecting digital scenes on the side of buildings, there’s plenty of creative ways to use projection mapping. Wherever there’s a need for remarkable digital content, Lightform’s technology can be used.
As Ivy Li, Partner at Seven Seas, so eloquently explained in a recent Press Release:
“Lightform brings wonder to everyday life. Amazingly striking effects are unveiled right in front of our eyes with just a simple click, we are honored and extremely proud to have the chance to work with a company that inspires such imagination and innovation.”
Source: Lightform Press Release