Voxiebox…

Another Stab At Holographic Goodness… After the Break…

Voxiebox…

I have a confession to make… This post originally started it’s life as a “Whatever Happened To… Voxelstein 3D?” article. Voxelstein 3D, for those who are not in the know, is voxel-based version of the first-person shooter, “Wolfenstein 3D.” So I researched that.

Voxelstein 3D, the project, is apparently still active although not much has been done with it for quite some time. The people (or person) still running the Voxelstein 3D have some rather sharp views on contemporary society if their blog posts are any indication… That, or they pretend to have those views. Perhaps they are going for a “Running With Scissors / Postal” angle. I’m not certain.

My research yielded another project, though, that I will concentrate on instead.

Holograms have long been a symbol of the too-distant-to-be-near future. The technology is sort of in the category of jetpacks, flying cars and robot maids: Yes, they exist today in some primitive form but not in a form that the everyday person can truly take advantage of. We have robots that perform fairly primitive functions (such as an automated vacuum cleaner) but, as the conventional logic would go… “Wait until 100 years later until the technology really takes off!” It is the same with holograms: We use them on currency and nifty little visual effects but the gulf between holograms as in science fiction and what can be achieved in modern times is still fairly wide.

Holographic entertainment has always fascinated people even if their entertainment potential has had little practical appeal. For instance, there were the “Visionaries” toy line that were merely action figures with holographic stickers on them. There was also the never-released Atari Cosmos system which was just a standard handheld LED-based game system with a holographic background to make the games have a bit more color to them. There was also “Holosseum” which was an arcade game that merged holographic technology with the gameplay similar to “Street Fighter 2.”

Up until now, consumer applications of holographic technology has not been overwhelming. It certainly hasn’t been what the far-flung future of science-fiction has promised us.

A video game system called “Voxiebox,” though, aims to bring us just a bit closer to that future. While it is still far too expensive for the rank-and-file public (It supposedly “rents” at $2,700 dollars a day and if that’s considered cheap for you than you are quite a fortunate individual), no doubt that sufficient demand will eventually drive down the price. VCRs, flat-screen TVs, DVD players… All of these items were once extraordinarily expensive… Until they weren’t. Until they wound up at a garage sale or a flea market.

Sometimes, technology advances farther then society desires or needs for it. Remember “camera phones,” the ability to see people while speaking to them over the phone? Yes, we have it now and it’s ‘sorta-kinda’ in the mainstream but we’ve had the technology for decades and it still hasn’t quite registered with the public at large even after all of this time. Maybe holographic games will struggle just like virtual reality and augmented reality; Great gimmicks that dazzle crowds but doesn’t translate into sales from the general public.

I wish the best for “Voxiebox.” It’s hard to put the kind of effort into a bleeding-edge technology knowing that the odds are perilously stacked against you to financially succeed. Yet the world needs people willing to work on such projects before we can truly breakthrough with a product that people do want and will pay for. We need Model-Ts before we can have Ferraris. Where “Voxiebox” fits on that scale is yet to be determined but we should all be thankful that it is at least there.

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