Kinect head-tracking + transparent screen = simulated holographic 3D display

I still remember seeing the innovative head-tracking demo Johnny Chung Lee showed off in late 2007 using a modified version of the infrared sensors for the Wii. Over 9.6 million views later, Johnny since joined and left Microsoft but the same technology has been ported for the Microsoft Kinect after the SDK released early this year.

Even though there’s a number of pretty good implementations of Kinect head-tracking out there already, some even have full source-code available, Second Story Labs took the idea to the next level with a Planar transparent electroluminescent (EL) display. The end result is a simple but effective simulation of a holographic 3D display.

Although it’s a display limitation to display simple line-based graphics in a single color, the effect is reminiscent of something from the TRON universe. Now it just needs a shade of cool blue.

3 insightful thoughts

  1. As much as I love what Johnny Chung Lee has done, when you see it in person the effect is not nearly as impressive as it appears on video. Turns out that a large part of the illusion is due to the camera only having one ‘eye’ and your brain filling in the depth it thinks it should perceive. Once you see it with both of your own human eyes your brain no longer has to fill in the gaps, and sees it for what it is: a flat, 2D image with not the simplest illusion of depth. It really only works if you keep one eye closed or use shutter glasses. I can’t see why this would be any different.

  2. As Robert commented, “pretty cool”… I say some of this stuff is getting “pretty scarey”…

    Just wanted to let you know I am a regular reader of “I Started Something” and just featured an RSS feed of your site at (specifically under the daily tech news: I also maintain What’s On My PC (

    Keep of the great work…


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