Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 6:32 am | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 

Business

Tech Start-Up zSpace Suspends Reality with Software

3-D imaging transports users into a virtual world of limitless possibilities

To see and seemingly hold a beating human heart is a powerful experience, to say the least, and one that previously belonged exclusively to a group of medical professionals.

But 3-D technology achieves a whole new level and “wow” factor via a system developed by zSpace Inc., a Sunnyvale-based tech start-up that simulates natural interaction with virtual-holographic 3-D imagery.

Using a zSpace system monitor, a stylist tool and a pair of polarized, passive 3-D glasses, users can “grab” and move full-color and high-resolution objects from the screen into their open space with a laser that appears to emanate from the pen-sized stylist.

The technology was so compelling that Santa Barbara resident Bill Mason readily jumped aboard the zSpace train a year ago, when approached by investors to assist in business development of the now 6-year-old company.

“I was looking for something different,” Mason told Noozhawk.

And that’s exactly what he found.

Mason said he never tires of the dramatic reaction potential buyers inevitably fail to suppress during demonstrations he leads up and down the California coast.

The reaction is no coincidence, since the first major focus of perfecting the product was getting the technology right, a task led by zSpace Chief Technology Officer David Chavez.

The key difference between what zSpace does and what others do is all in the comfort and head-tracking technology, Chavez said.

Users can run a particular app or software program about the subject of their choosing, and the glasses ensure that what they’re seeing is a holistic and believable image. 

“The idea is it’s a new platform,” Chavez said. “I can tell you a lot about the technology, (but) when people sit down in front of it, it’s a big, big change over anything that they’ve seen.

“The biggest deal is we’ve integrated some elements into the experience. What we’re trying to do is simulate the viewing experience as if the objects in the scene were really where they are in space.

“In traditional 3D or up until zSpace, head-tracking technology is not there,” he continued. “Now we can do all kinds of crazy things with it. The user can pick up this tool and interact with the scene. There’s no question that this system has brought application to a broad set of people.”

zSpace, a private company funded by Palo Alto-based Artiman Ventures, has grown to 70 employees. Most of that growth has come within the past year, after the company began shipping its system across the world, primarily to software developers.

Uses and fields that could benefit from the technology seem endless, although Chavez specifically lists education, manufacturing, medicine, engineering, government, and even how retail business is done.

Chavez said the tool could be used for collaboration, or, really, for whatever recreational or professional use people can come up with.

The entire system costs $4,000, but zSpace also offers use of its flagship product for $1,500 a year through its Technology Access Program.

With 20 years of experience in start-up companies, Chavez doesn’t shy away of noting that zSpace – the “coolest thing” he’s ever worked on—has the potential to become an everyday staple.

“In the long term, people might look back and wonder how people used 2-D screens,” he said. “It could be that these end up on everybody’s desk. This is the most meaningful thing I’ve ever worked on because it’s going to change what people do. We’ve been waiting for something like this.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Patricia Griffin
Patricia Griffin
"I am very hands on and feel that each transaction is special and different. My clients goals are foremost in what I do to bring about a successful transaction."

Full Profile >