Not everyone will be keen on wearing even glasses to experience this metaverse thing. Fortunately, you might not have to, especially if this hologram-in-a-box can deliver the next best thing.
The metaverse is being hyped as the logical evolution of virtual reality, blending the physical and the digital in a single space. Most of the discussions and implementations, however, involve placing ourselves in a virtual space, often with the use of mixed reality equipment like headsets. The metaverse can also work the other way around and bring the digital into our physical realm, most likely through holograms. We’re still ways off from the holograms of sci-fi, but this new holographic display is trying to bridge the gap until that perfect time.
Imagine trying to keep in touch with family members in a future where the metaverse has become our world. You’d expect that we’d don glasses or headgear that would seemingly teleport us to a common space, maybe in a virtual house bought with your NFTs, but that can be cumbersome to set up for a brief call. What if you could just bring that person virtually into your house instead? That’s where holograms come in, but we’re not quite there yet when it comes to simply project people in just about any physical space.
Startup PORTL, not to be confused by Meta’s Portal video conferencing device, envisions installing cabinet-sized holographic displays in places where they might be of use, like in stores, meeting rooms, or even classrooms. Not everyone will be able to afford these PORTL EPIC boxes, though, which is why the company revealed its desktop, the PORTL M. Again, not to be confused with Facebook Portal, but the associations are really hard to avoid, especially given the design.
PORTL M is what the very first Facebook Portal would be if it were extruded into a box form to accommodate a holographic display inside. The box can be set up in either landscape or portrait orientation, depending on the content you want to display. The device itself lacks some charm, looking like a nondescript plastic box with rounded corners and a curved back. The magic, of course, is in how it will try to make people and things really look like the three-dimensional objects that they are. Or at least that’s the idea.
The PORTL M is intended to be used for full-body video chats, browsing and examining products before you buy, or even for serious work in industrial and medical fields. And, of course, you can also use these boxes to display your NFTs, at least if you have around $2,000 to spare for one.