Once upon a time I came up with an idea so big and all encompassing I was convinced it would conquer the world. The project was code named ‘The Eye’ and I gathered a team of 8 people, whereof 2 engineers, to make it happen. The goal was to construct a hollow sphere with an image all around the inner surface. The construction had to hold crowds of people, and the resulting effect should be indiscernible from reality. Next I looked for a way that allowed images to appear in empty space, using lasers and gas, no less. The projector of these laser beams would have the shape of a pair of eyes. I went to great lengths and visited a couple companies to partner with, and everything looked on the up and up.
But then I met with one of the engineers, E. Emmen, and did some calculations. He proposed to use OLED since they would offer the needed flexibility and optical fidelity. We looked up the price and seeing the total amount needed, I shelved the project.
I had gotten the idea of the laser projection from Dr. K. Claes, who studied computer science. I went to his Doctorate on 3D laser scanning. That caught my eye (no pun intended) and would lead me later to pursue a career in photogrammetry, relying heavily on triangulating points from 2 images.
So, not all was lost. The need to develop The Eye became obsolete when Virtual Reality took the world by storm: A screen fixed before the eyes combined with head tracking. And what about the projection in empty space? I was content with a 3D printer later on.
So, what is the lesson we take home? It is ok to dream big, but don’t fret about not getting what you want. What you need might be right around the corner.
Thanks for reading, see you on the next project!