Once upon a time, there was an idea so big and all-encompassing that I was convinced it would conquer the world. The project was codenamed “The Eye,” and I assembled a team of 8 people, including 2 engineers, to make it a reality. The goal was to construct a hollow sphere with an image on the entire inner surface. The construction should hold crowds of people and the resulting effect should be indistinguishable from reality. Next, I looked for a way to make images appear in empty space, using lasers and gas. The projector for these laser beams should have the shape of a pair of eyes. I put a lot of effort and visited some companies to work with, and everything seemed to be in order.
But then I met with one of the engineers, E. Emmen, and did some calculations. He suggested using OLED because it would provide the flexibility and optical fidelity we needed. We looked at the price, and given the total quantity needed, I put the project on hold.
I got the idea of laser projection from Dr. K. Claes, who was studying computer science. I attended his doctoral thesis on 3D laser scanning. This piqued my interest (no pun intended) and led me to later pursue a career in photogrammetry, which relies heavily on triangulating points from two images.
So all was not lost. The need to develop the eye became obsolete when virtual reality took the world by storm: a screen fixed in front of the eyes, combined with head-tracking. And what about projection in empty space? I later settled for a 3D printer.
So what’s the lesson we take away? It’s okay to dream big, but do not fret about not getting what you want. What you need could be right around the corner.
Thanks for reading, see you on the next project!