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Holograms and 3D projection have come down from science labs and sci-fi movies to computers and mobile phones. While augmented reality renders a life-like image with sophisticated technology, virtual reality does the same with the help of electronic headgear and display. We look at three enterprises working on these technologies.

Scan properties from your home

Retina is a virtual headgear from real estate portal, which can be used to view properties in 3D from the comfort of one’s home. Priced at 999, it works with a smartphone and a voice-guided Android app that has preloaded three-dimensional (3D) content. A trigger on the side of the headset can be flicked to view images in a slide show. The company started work on Retina last September, after its successful offer to ferry property hunters for site visits.

“This would allow them to have a wider choice of properties to choose from, as it is possible to see multiple properties in a few minutes using Retina," says Sumit Jain, co-founder and chief executive of

A total of 20 projects from six leading developers in Bengaluru are now available for viewing on Retina. In the coming weeks, the app will also host 100 Mumbai projects from top developers.

The company is working to bring 1,000 projects across India on the platform, starting with metros and moving to smaller towns over the next few months.

CommonFloor has also partnered seven malls and IT parks in Bengaluru—where the company is based—to make Retina headsets available at their locations.

Jain said the company is planning to approach such entities in other metros as well “to create awareness about the Retina home-viewing experience".

The app is currently available only on the Android platform on select high-end handsets compatible for 3D image viewing like Google Nexus, Samsung S series, Moto X and Xiaomi handsets. It is planning to bring the app to iOS and more handsets by April.

Life-like visualization of retail products, educational elements

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As anyone who has looked at textbook diagrams of organic molecules and automobile engines would know, for certain things nothing works better than 3D models. Enter Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd.

India is the first market where Robert Bosch Engineering will be launching its augmented reality solutions for education. “In the education sector, we saw a gap in the professional training and higher education segment due to lack of highly skilled teachers. This problem is more pronounced especially for teaching subjects like automotive engineering and organic chemistry," explains Varun Suri, senior manager (augmented reality solutions) at Robert Bosch Engineering.

Robert Bosch Engineering has started working with Bangalore University to create 3D images for the course curriculum. The solution is expected to be available for colleges affiliated to the university by October-December.

For vocational training in automotive assembly and industrial training, the company has developed a desktop solution. Students can view and project preloaded 3D content. Also, they can easily modify these virtual objects with a webcam and a scanner. The solution, now used in the company’s Bengaluru factory, will be available for commercial use in the second half of this year.

An augmented reality solution for online retail, which would allow life-size viewing of products online, is also on the cards. Bosch is working with a number of online retailers and e-commerce companies to develop customized 3D content of the items for sale.

Reshape the mobile landscape

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Project Aria from—an online mobile portal—is inspired by Google Inc.’s Project Ara, which aims to make phones modular. In these phones, one can merely replace parts that get outdated and retain the handset itself.

“This is the first futuristic project from, which took inspiration from Google’s replaceable modular processor mobile handset project called Project Ara. Using a series of surveys on expectations of futuristic mobile phone components from over 100 respondents who visited our website last December and our in-house three-member technology team that tracks latest research for new handset features, we came up with Project Aria, that details the features of a futuristic phone. We are currently talking to handset manufacturers to see if this concept can be turned into a handset for commercial availability within the next three-four years," says Bharanidharan Viswanathan, founder of

Project Aria phones will have super capacitors, fitted as a transparent thin layer over the screen, which function as batteries. The super capacitors made of carbon nanotubes would offer two days’ battery life. The handset would have modular, replaceable hardware. Holographic video projection would allow the device to offer life-like 4D content, or four-dimensional content, projection, allowing an enhanced video-viewing experience. A 13-megapixel camera could capture the entire depth of field instead of just the subject, thereby allowing users to change the perspective and refocus pictures that have already been clicked.

Finally, the handset can turn any flat surface into a large speaker through a technology called vibration transduction, enhancing the audio experience. The handset would also feature a transparent polymer organic light-emitting diode display with 4K resolution (a display device or content having horizontal resolution to the order of 4,000 pixels) for higher quality screen resolution.

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