February 3, 2014

A zView from zSpace

I recently caught “a zView from zSpace,” an auspicious glimpse of a bright future for 3D in education. ZSpace is a Silicon Valley company offering what I call “a near-holographic hardware platform,” one which really draws the crowds. I recently attended the zCON East developer’s conference, which was held at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge and attended by scientists, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical interests, higher education, K12 teachers, optometry consultants, medical device companies, and venture capitalists alike. This conference offered a distinctive educational flavor, with most presentations strongly focusing on educational applications of the zSpace platform. And there was one uniquely pleasant discovery.

In the NERD Center demo hall, I saw one of the most remarkable ideas I have seen in a long time. You see, the zSpace platform is chiefly a platform for an individual or maybe small group of 2-3 to work with holographic-like interactive 3D visualization.  In that regard, it’s untouchable.

But now draw your attention back to the real world: the fact is, many university and K-12 classrooms require full-class viewing. And that’s what zSpace provided with zView—and in quite a creative way. While an individual or small team can don stereo glasses and work in true stereo on the zSpace display, the entire scene—including the individual using the zSpace stereo display—is immediately rendered in augmented reality on a large screen television or projector. For the full class to see. I have never seen anything quite like it, fluid and real time. Here is a video I captured of zView in action at the zCon event, showing what the audience can see in augmented reality, while the instructor or student presenter manipulates their presentation in stereo 3D.

The cohesive marriage between stereoscopic 3D and augmented reality, as evidenced by zView, is one of the most remarkable ideas I have seen in a long, long time. If you get a chance to visit a zSpace booth at the TCEA conference this week, ask to see this product. It has real potential to reach the broader education market. It’s nothing less than a zView from zSpace. 

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