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Hold impossible curiosities in the palm of your hand thanks to volumetric printing, unlike any 3D printing tech you've seen before. Read more

Brooklyn, NY Mixed Media
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This project was successfully funded on July 6, 2014.

Hold impossible curiosities in the palm of your hand thanks to volumetric printing, unlike any 3D printing tech you've seen before.

Brooklyn, NY Mixed Media
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About this project

What is Looking Glass & Volumetric Printing?

Looking Glass is the world's first volumetric printing service.  We developed volumetric printing over the past year so that we could bring any 3D scene from digital space into the real world in magazine-resolution color.  A bioluminescent jellyfish. An amoeba magnified 100X. A boa constrictor consuming an elephant. 

This isn't likely something you've seen in 3D object printing or holography before.  Volumetric 3D scenes in millions of colors with full opacity and transparency control are now possible.  Meaning for the first time ever we can volumetrically print a thunderstorm you can hold, with the lightning visible through the clouds. 

If you can dream it, now you can hold it in a Looking Glass. 

Take this translucent frog, for instance (available as one of the Rewards for this Kickstarter).

Translucent Frog Looking Glass, modified by T.Y.F.
Translucent Frog Looking Glass, modified by T.Y.F.

Looks like a real frog specimen in a box, doesn't it?  Perhaps caught and clarified in the marshes of Cameroon?  Ah, but don't let your eyes deceive you - we wouldn't be so cruel.  Get ready for a mind-blow.  There's actually no frog in that box.

It's just ink.  It's made up of hundreds of sheets of lucite, each printed with a tiny slice of the 3D modelled frog, complete with see-through skin and internal skeleton. When those slices are stacked, put into a vacuum chamber, and injected with a refractive index-matching fluid, the result is a volumetrically printed Looking Glass.

Reward Choices (NEW CURIOSITIES!)

And now we want to make volumetric printing available to all of you.  By backing our project, you will receive one or more of the world's first volumetric prints. Choose from any of the Looking Glasses below.

We've already unlocked twelve Looking Glasses, each available in three sizes.  And backers can now vote on unlocking the 13th Curiosity from the list below:

Detail on Each Unlocked Curiosity

CT-SCANNED HUMAN FOOT
This is the first, and thus far only, volumetric print ever made directly from a medical CT scan. Lisfranc injury. Dislocation of 2nd through 5th metatarsals.  Scanned two hours after injury in Manhattan. And now, dear backers, it can be yours!


BOA CONSTRICTOR DIGESTING AN ELEPHANT
This Looking Glass is an ode to one of our favorite books, The Little Prince.  When 6 years old, the author explains how he embarked on a career to become a magnificent painter with his first ever drawing: a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. However, when he showed his drawing to the grown-ups, they could not see a boa constrictor or an elephant - all they could see was a hat.  They promptly recommended to the author that he pursue another career path.

This Looking Glass is for the non-grown-ups out there.  From afar, it will look like a three-dimensional hat.  But when held up to the light, its true nature will be revealed - as a realistic boa constrictor with an elephant in his belly, as if caught mid-digestion in the jungle and preserved in lucite.


TRANSLUCENT FROG WITH SKELETON
A see-through frog with fully visible skeleton that looks insanely realistic.  But we've got to tell you - and I hope you're sitting down - there's no frog in that box.  It's just ink.  This is one of the first Looking Glasses we made with transparency.


INTERNAL HUMAN ORGANS
by Dr. Scott Camazine

This is a realistic drawing of the full internal organs of a human by fellow Kickstarter creator Scott Camazine.  The lungs are a bit translucent, demonstrating one of the new effects possible with volumetric printing.

CT-SCANNED POCKET PISTOL
Volumetric print of a CT-scanned Williamson Deringer pocket pistol, data provided by the University of Huddersfield.  Thanks to Dr. Paul Bills and James Williamson for opening up micro CT-scanning to volumetric printing.

POISONOUS MUSHROOMS
Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria) is called the world's most famous mushroom or sometimes "The Fairy Tale Mushroom", thanks to its super powers in Mario Bros.  In real life however, it is deadly. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amanita_muscaria_UK.JPG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Amanita_muscaria_UK.JPG

But don't fear - we will 3D model an accurate volumetric specimen of a couple Amanita muscaria mushrooms which will pose no danger to life or limb -  unless mistaken for a 1up mushroom and ingested. 

CT-SCANNED DOLPHIN SKULL
by Dr. Scott Camazine

Another one from fellow Kickstarter creator Scott Camazine, this is a CT-scanned dolphin skull to be printed into a Looking Glass in full 3D volumetric glory. That being said, if you choose this Curiosity and you tell your friends it's an alien skull discovered off the coast of Florida, we won't say anything.

CT-SCANNED HUMAN SKULL WITH ILLUSTRATED BRAIN
by Dr. Scott Camazine

We were told by more than one backer that a Cabinet of Curiosities wouldn't be complete without a human skull.  So, for those backers we've tried to do something special - this is a Looking Glass based on a genuine CT-scan of a human skull down to the shoulders. All of the bone imagery is very much real volumetric X-ray data. (The brain imagery isn't "real" but it is an excellent 3D illustration, positioned correctly within the CT-scanned bone structure)

PICKLED SHARK (NEW!)
by Peter Tan a.k.a. Mr. How

One of the first experimental volumetric prints we made in 2013, this volumetric print was so realistic we often were asked, "Wow, how hard was it to 3D scan a live shark?!".  It's actually based on a drawn 3D digital model but does look freakishly real.  And now, the artist Peter Tan has made his Pickled Shark available as a choice for all backers. 

Coincidentally, these pieces happen to be volumetrically scaled in pricing to a certain life-size $12 million stuffed shark.

THE WORLD'S MOST TYPICAL PERSON OF THE 21st CENTURY (THEORETICALLY)
As reported in TIME magazine, the world's most typical person is a 28-year-old Chinese man.   

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/03/04/just-8-999-999-like-him/
http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/03/04/just-8-999-999-like-him/

"He’s a guy, he’s Han Chinese, he is 28 years old and there are 8,999,999 others out there that look a lot like him. The image [above] is a composite created by merging pictures of 190.000 men that the Chinese Academy of Sciences collected over the course of a decade of individuals who fit that description"

BIOLUMINESCENT MOON JELLYFISH (NEW!)

Backers recently voted on unlocking this new Curiosity, the Bioluminescent Moon Jelly Fish.  Now we're in the midst of testing different luminescent inks which we will hand-screen on key areas of the jellyfish tentacles and body after the main volumetric stack is printed.

FLORIDIAN THUNDERSTORM (NEW!)

Details coming soon....!  (we are working on getting our hands on genuine volumetric thunderstorm data before we model this up)

Size Guide

Why we need your help.

Inspired by work we'd done on efficient micro-solar panels and a lifelong desire to make a walk-around full-color room-light-viewable hologram (or something like it), we've spent the last year transforming volumetric printing from hundreds of glass prototypes with machine oil into something magical.

If this Kickstarter campaign is successful we will be able to transform our prototype system into a full production volumetric printer capable of printing different size Looking Glasses in millions of colors.  We'll also be able to collaborate with (and pay) several of our artist and scientist friends making the amazing specimens you see in the cabinet of curiosities above. 

Thank you to everyone who is joining us on this adventure to build a new field of volumetric imaging. 

To the future!

Shawn, Christina, Alex, Angus, Samtim, Alvin, & Prachi and the dozens of scientists, inventors, engineers, designers, artists, and balloon clowns that helped us along the way.

Risks and challenges

Our team at Looking Glass has been in the invention business (first in cleantech, now in volumetric imaging) for nearly 10 years and we've experienced firsthand many of the delays that arise when bringing a new hardware technology to the world. Anything new isn't going to come into the world without a fight and a bit of screaming, even for the most experienced teams. This rule applies to both inventions and babies.

But knowing what's coming has given us a chance to prepare, to lessen the risk of delays associated with this first Looking Glass Kickstarter campaign.

Most importantly, our fundamental volumetric printing tech already exists. It's no longer experimental - it's real, having been refined over the past year. In the lead-up to this Kickstarter, we've created hundreds of volumetric prints to refine both our process, hardware, and software.

Even so, we're pushing the technology to a new level for backers - we're upgrading to new suppliers of the input materials, transforming our prototype printer into a production volumetric printer, and adding a couple new Looking Glass sizes. We're confident we know how to manage the risks associated with these improvements, but we're human. And of course there's always a chance a microscopic black hole spontaneously forms at the center of Earth and consumes all life and Kickstarter rewards.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • The 3D content of each Looking Glass will determine the precise size - so, we can't quite nail down the sizes generally speaking. But as a guideline, the Small Looking Glass is about the size of two stacked matchbooks, or around 2.3" x 1.4" x 1.2" (5.8cm x 3.6cm x 2.9cm). The Medium Looking Glass is about the size of two stacked decks of cards, or around 3.2" x 2" x 1.6" (8cm x 5cm x 4cm). And the Large Looking Glass is about the size of two stacked hardbound books, or around 6" x 4" x 3" (16cm x 10cm x 8cm).

    Last updated:
  • Yes, absolutely. We actually love printing 3D designs and 3D scans made by people around the world - this is why we developed Looking Glass.

    Custom Looking Glasses are listed as a Pro level reward, $99 (early bird) and $120 (regular) - you'll receive both a Small and a Medium Looking Glass of your designs/scans.

    Keep in mind that we can only accept 3D models in OBJ format for this reward level. All backers at this level will receive an upload link after the Kickstarter is complete.

    Last updated:
  • We developed volumetric printing over the past year and as far as we know we're the only group in the world doing this. All the volumetrically printed Looking Glasses on this Kickstarter page and all the pieces we will make for backers will be made on our own volumetric printing machines.

    We have several pending patents in the US and globally. We would never use our patents to stop individual experimentation (little known fact, patents cannot stop individual experimentation). We've mainly sought to protect our inventions because of the highly competitive field of 3D imaging and because we believe volumetric printing is a fundamental advance worthy of patent protection.

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    4 backers

    HIDDEN SIGNATURE: We'll hide your name inside the belly of one of the Looking Glasses another backer receives. No casual observer will ever see your name, but your mark will be there for future anthropologists to discover and debate.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    3 backers

    VOLUMETRIC T-SHIRT: A huge thanks for accelerating us into a volumetric future! You'll receive a limited edition Looking Glass T-shirt of a to-be-announced design and will have access to all backer-only updates.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    100 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL- SMALL LOOKING GLASS CURIOSITY:
    Backers at this level receive a Small Looking Glass about the size of a couple stacked matchboxes. Choose from any of the Curiosities unlocked throughout the entire duration of the Kickstarter.

    *You will get to choose your Looking Glass by email survey after the Kickstarter ends.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $39 or more

    73 backers

    SMALL LOOKING GLASS CURIOSITY:
    Backers at this level receive a Small Looking Glass about the size of a couple stacked matchboxes. Choose from any of the Curiosities unlocked throughout the entire duration of the Kickstarter.

    *You will get to choose your Looking Glass by email survey after the Kickstarter ends.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $65 or more

    50 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - MEDIUM LOOKING GLASS CURIOSITY:
    Backers at this level receive a Medium Looking Glass about the size of a couple stacked decks of cards. Choose from any of the Curiosities unlocked throughout the entire duration of the Kickstarter.

    *You will get to choose your Looking Glass by email survey after the Kickstarter ends.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    94 backers

    MEDIUM LOOKING GLASS CURIOSITY:
    Backers at this level receive a Medium Looking Glass about the size of a couple stacked decks of cards. Choose from any of the Curiosities unlocked throughout the entire duration of the Kickstarter.

    *You will get to choose your Looking Glass by email survey after the Kickstarter ends.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $99 or more

    25 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - PRO LEVEL - DESIGN YOUR OWN LOOKING GLASS: Are you an artist, inventor, or gamer with your own color 3D models? This special reward level is for you. Send us your 3D model (OBJ format only) after the Kickstarter ends and we will turn it into not one, but two Looking Glasses! (you'll receive both a SMALL and MEDIUM Looking Glass with your submitted 3D scene)

    ***Only choose this reward level if you have color 3D content of your own***

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $120 or more

    10 backers

    DESIGN YOUR OWN LOOKING GLASS - PRO LEVEL: Are you an artist, inventor, or gamer with your own color 3D models? This special reward level is for you. Send us your 3D model (OBJ format only) after the Kickstarter ends and we will turn it into not one, but two Looking Glasses! (you'll receive both a SMALL and MEDIUM Looking Glass with your submitted 3D scene)

    ***Only choose this reward level if you have color 3D content of your own***

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $249 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - LARGE LOOKING GLASS CURIOSITY:
    Backers at this level receive a Large Looking Glass about the size of a couple stacked hardbound books. Choose from any of the Curiosities unlocked throughout the entire duration of the Kickstarter.

    Comes with a beautifully handcrafted wooden frame suitable for wall mounting.

    *You will get to choose your Looking Glass by email survey after the Kickstarter ends.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $299 or more

    3 backers

    LARGE LOOKING GLASS CURIOSITY:
    Backers at this level receive a Large Looking Glass about the size of a couple stacked hardbound books. Choose from any of the Curiosities unlocked throughout the entire duration of the Kickstarter.

    Comes with a beautifully handcrafted wooden frame suitable for wall mounting.

    *You will get to choose your Looking Glass by email survey after the Kickstarter ends.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $666 or more

    6 backers Limited (4 left of 10)

    LIMITED EDITION - CABINET OF LOOKING GLASS CURIOSITIES:
    A complete cabinet of volumetrically printed curiosities with a mix of small, medium, and large Looking Glasses (seven pieces in total curated by Shawn & Christina - one large, two medium, four small).

    Comes in a miniature wooden curio cabinet.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    50 FRIENDS IN LOOKING GLASSES:
    A 50-Person Looking Glass party in any US city or Hong Kong. We will 3D scan everyone at the party individually (up to 50 people). All attendees will be instantly emailed an animation of the 3D scan and within a month of the event be shipped one SMALL LOOKING GLASS of their individual personal 3D scan to their respective homes.

    Host will receive a SMALL LOOKING GLASS of each individual (up to 50) in a miniature wooden curio cabinet.

    Our team will provide the set-up, service, and light snacks. No additional cost for our travel expenses. But the backer must provide the venue. Lasts up to 3 hours.

    Add $1000 for elsewhere in the world. This includes shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (38 days)