Two days ago I received a huge heavy metal wedge from Sony. The largest side contained a camera and a 15.6-inch 4K screen.
I connected it to a powerful gaming computer and started the first demo. A tiny, detailed Volkswagen Atlas appeared in front of my face – and when I pressed a button, it floated straight up out Of the screen. A few minutes later, I saw a 4 inch anime girl dancing her heart out Within Sony’s device tapped a floor of hexagonal mirrors with its feet. It’s the magic of 3D stereoscopic.
The Wedge is Sony’s new spatial reality display, and it̵
According to Sony, the combination of a high-speed camera for face and gaze tracking, real-time algorithms and extremely fine, precisely fitted lenses delivers a clearer picture than any previous display. And while I don’t have a competitor to try side by side, and I can’t show you examples on your 2D computer screen, Sony’s demos have been pretty impressive for the most part.
I have to admit the illusion is easy to break. By my estimates, you will see a virtual diorama that is approximately 13 “x 6” x 5 “and any virtual objects that are deeper or taller will simply be clipped from the edges of the display. If you lean too close or too far to one side, the Sony camera won’t be able to track you and the 3D effect may twitch and disappear. The image also twitched when my wife tried to look next to me. Maybe the camera can’t keep up with multiple people.
But those limitations didn’t stop me from counting every cobblestone in a beautiful bistro scene and peering into the restaurant, with its tiny wooden chairs and tables – each with their own curved metal armrests and individual slats – and admiring details like the baskets of plants, on which he hung the lampposts and fairy lights that span the street, and nearly Leaned far enough to see through the arch to the right.
I was later able to see a Ghostbusters Ecto-1 in all its glory, with a fully equipped interior, a two-rim steering wheel, lots of shiny chrome handles and a panel that reflects a real-time light source, and 31 fully functional lights, including its rotating ones Turn signals and rocket taillights. This demo (and display) is also compatible with the Leap Motion for 3D gesture control, although I found it a bit sensitive.
Personally, I already think that you can get a much better feel for virtual objects with a good VR headset than with a screen like this one, but Sony claims its audiences wanted a stationary monitor that can live on their desk.
Most of the demos were made in Unity, although Sony says there is an SDK for Unity and Unreal and it should be easy to port VR content from both platforms. The company says the 500-nit 4K display supports 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut. While Sony recommends at least an Intel Core i7-9700K and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super or better to power the display, it does come with the display’s own built-in 2.1 speaker system that gets quite loud (and via dedicated volume buttons on the top Edge features).
Sony says it has already populated the new display with engineers from companies like Volkswagen, filmmakers like its own Ghost hunters Studio Ghost Corps and “one of the largest architectural firms in the world”. However, the company does not want to limit potential acceptance to partners. It will open direct sales to anyone who wants one on their own website in November.
You can also sign up to attend a virtual demo on October 22nd at 3:00 p.m. ET. However, I can’t imagine that this will really help decide which display you need to see in 3D.