The HoloLamp, the latest release to capitalize on society’s rekindled love affair with glasses-free, hands-free augmented reality and holograms, uses 3D scanning technology based on photogrammetry to project photorealistic models of food onto restaurant table tops. The boxy HoloLamp projector is somewhat reminiscent of R2D2 projecting the visage of Princess Leia in a galaxy far far away, except the idea here is more about letting customers see menu selections on the plate before ordering in a futuristic restaurant setting and less about relaying urgent rescue messages across space on behalf of an interplanetary rebellion.
That said, an industry peer who came across this same new product raised the following questions and concerns:
- It isn’t wireless, so where exactly is the wait staff supposed to plug the HoloLamp in, assuming there aren’t enough outlets in your average dining facility to accommodate every table?
- The HoloLamp uses a pico projector, and unless you’re eating in a dark, romantic atmosphere, there could be issues with brightness and sharpness.
- Lastly, every restaurant looking to employ the HoloLamp concept would need a bunch of units (at least one for every couple), and that probably isn’t realistic … at least not yet.
These points are all logical and more than fair, and we admit this kind of thing has been more effectively executed by groups like teamlab, but let’s momentarily engage in some suspension of digital signage disbelief and keep in mind the HoloLamp’s main utility and/or objective within the restaurant vertical, which is to essentially demo a dish (and its plating, presentation, accoutrements, etc.) so a diner knows exactly what they’re getting into without wasting any real ingredients. In other words, HoloLamp provides the utility of a picture menu without the lack of class and quality that usually comes with establishments that take poorly lit photos of their dishes with little regard for portion control and plaster them all over laminated menus that double as placemats.
The HoloLamp is also a conversation piece. Instead of retreating to personalized devices, here’s some tech wizardry that actually provides a shareable experience for two people on a date. It’s like a tableside bucket of iced champagne for Millennials. That’s basically a good idea, and the real beauty is that it isn’t limited to the food and beverage sector. The HoloLamp is a fit for anyone looking for 3D content that exists directly in the user environment. Check out the video below to see the HoloLamp in action, and decide for yourself whether or not it’s worthy of the Installation of the Week title.