A holographic toy

A San Antonio, Texas company has developed the world’s first holographic toy that allows you to hold a hologram in your hand, changing the way we interact with the virtual world.

TRANSCRIPT

A San Antonio, Texas, company has developed the world's first holographic toy to allow you to hold a hologram in your hand, changing the way we interact with the virtual world.

Here's a look.

Merge Cube is the world's first holographic object, and what we're doing is merging the physical and the digital.

As well as with augmented reality, we're merging kind of the real and the unreal, if you will.

We're taking the real-world view and imposing digital imagery on top of that.

So, the Merge Cube is an interactive toy that we've developed that allows you to hold holograms in your hand.

So, you hold it in your hand, and when you're wearing a Merge headset or any kind of V.R.

headset and you look at it, it actually comes to life.

It's 'Star Wars' technology in a modern-day product that we're releasing this summer.

For a long time, we've had these holograms that you can look at and sort of, kind of walk around or sort of see from a distance, but this is the first product that you're gonna actually be able to touch and hold and feel.

And so that adds sort of this level of interaction that makes it really compelling and really interesting.

So, virtual reality is kind of what you see a lot of people doing.

When they put on the headset, they sort of enter a completely virtual world.

So they can look around the world, they can interact with the world in different ways, but it completely seals them off from the real world.

What augmented reality is -- or what people are calling it sort of -- is the idea that you see the real world and then you overlay sort of virtual components on top of the real world.

So, for example, if I was gonna build some sort of augmented-reality interaction with you here, I would see you, but then maybe I would see a heads-up display next to your head that says your name, your birthday, where you're from, the things you like, the things you don't.

So, that's kind of augmented reality, this idea of the real world but with information added on top.

All right, Jeremy, what are we looking at here?

So, this is the Merge Cube, and this is how it works.

What we have here is -- we have the physical cube behind the camera.

Okay.

And then we're showing you here, on a tablet, the digital layer that's added on top of the cube.

So, in this case, we have kind of a fantasy castle, and when you tap on it, it shoots out fireworks.

And it's pretty cool.

But you can actually grab it, and you see my hand here actually assisting and turning it, like it's a hologram right here in the palm of my hand, so it's pretty cool.

So, you're merging, as we talked about, the virtual world, which is the world of the cube, merged with the real world, which is you and your hand and the room we're in right now.

I can take the human skull and superimpose it on top of this cube, and it does a couple of interesting things.

First, I can connect with it and I can control it and look at it, you know, up and down from every different possible angle, number one, but also, number two, what's been really gratifying is that although we have you holding a cube in your hand, you actually have your brain fooled into feeling a skull in your hand, in the example of the anatomy viewer.

I think it's gonna be used in classrooms to do things like anatomy viewers, viewing the periodic table of the elements, viewing astronomical bodies, for example.

I think it will be used a lot in entertainment and gaming.

But some of the other things that we've been approached about by others is architects and engineers using it as a visualization tool, where they can take something simple out into the field and show their client or perspective client.

Hey, here's the building or the car or whatever it is that I want to build for you, or here's a progress report, and they can actually look at it, again, you know, from every possible angle, manipulate it, and really kind of have fun, you know, have fun connecting with it, but also learn a lot.

One thing that we've found with virtual reality, augmented reality, in general, is that it's just that extra dimension adds emotions in a way that's far more powerful than anything that has ever existed before.

And so one of the things that we really see the cube being used for is connecting with something emotionally, not just, you know, something I'm kind of visualizing.

And we've actually seen people experience that when we put, you know, a hologram in their hand.

And, sometimes, it's something fun, and sometimes, as you've seen with the anatomy viewer, you know, they really kind of are in awe and really kind of profoundly connect with it.

It's like, 'Oh, this is what my skull looks like.

Here are the different parts.'

And it's something that you almost kind of see almost a little bit of a tear, you know, when they walk away.

It's like, 'You know, look how beautiful this thing is.

[ Laughs ] That is awesome.