On rare occasion you see a technology and sense that it can change the way media is consumed.zSpace is an interactive immersive 3D experience which includes hardware, monitor, glasses, and a stylus. The technology was initially developed for the military as a way of planning battle strategy but has since been used by movie production houses, architects, doctors, and more recently some adventurous retailers.
Unfortunately it’s one of those things you have to experience first hand to get but it’s hand down the most convincingly real 3D experience I’ve seen. When you look at 3D modeled objects in this system, you feel you’re looking at the real thing. Using a stylus you can pull the objects closer or push them farther, you can twist them and turn them and see them from all angles. The only thing you can’t do is touch them.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the experience is that you can sense texture in a way that isn’t possible in 2D experiences or even other 3D experiences. This has very real implications for the potential of home shopping, because when you see a pair of shoes on zSpace you feel like you know exactly what it looks like AND what it feels like. In theory It would allow you to purchase with much greater confidence than you can in today’s home shopping world.
It also has the potential to transform teleconferencing in the future if the technology evolves to the point where it can render objects in real time. You would be able to talk to people and feel like they’re really there with you.
The system currently retails for around $6,000 and is used primarily for professional purposes. A few adventurous brands have fallen in love with the technology and created ways to feature it in retail environments. For example one jewelry company allows you to design your own rings using zSpace, which lets you experience exactly what the ring would look like in real life.
For now check out this video to get a better sense of the system, but next time you come to the Lab make sure to try it out. It’s incredibly fun, slightly addictive, and it’s going to change the way we think about 3D.