Reporting from CES 2020, Day 2…
Are you scratching your head a bit over the “parallel reality” bit? I know I was before yesterday. However, after Tuesday’s Delta keynote (watch the video) and the presentation by Albert Ng, the CEO of Misapplied Sciences who invented this technology, I knew I was going to have to visit their booth and see what it was all about. At the risk of being labeled a Delta fan boy for talking Delta two days in a row, I’m going to cover their new, upcoming offering today.
What I experienced at the Delta booth was truly astounding. I walked up with the expectation that I was going to stand in a pretty long line as I waited to experience parallel reality. When I arrived, I saw the line. The good news, it was not as long as I had feared it would be. The bad news, it was a standby line (leave it to Delta to implement a Standby line at CES) and it was capped! At this point they were only taking reservations for the PARALLEL REALITY™ Experience.
I resigned myself to having to wait until Thursday to get in and experience this amazing technology. This is like waking up Christmas morning, expecting to unwrap presents only to discover that Santa’s reindeer bailed the night before and he wasn’t going to make the trip until the next day. So, I got in line to book my visit. While I was waiting to register, the wonderful flight attendant, responsible for line control, pulled me over and said, if you don’t mind waiting about 15 minutes, I can fit you in.
Christmas is back on!
Of course, I don’t mind waiting for 15 minutes! The wait ended up being slightly longer (the CES 2020 crowds have been massive!), but it wasn’t too bad, and I got to chat with the amazing Atlanta-based crew who was staffing my flight — er — Parallel Reality experience. When it was my turn, I entered my name and preferred destination into the app on the iPad. I chose Seoul, South Korea. Then I had to choose a language and I made sure English was not a personal option. In keeping with Delta's global theme, I opted for Korean and my boarding pass was printed accordingly.
It was finally time to start my trip to Seoul! The first step in the demonstration at CES 2020 was a quick background on the technology that we were about to experience. Parallel Reality is a technology that allows a business to display highly customized and personalized information to an individual and, in the current implementation with Delta, it supports 100 simultaneous, individualized displays. I’ll explain how it works a bit later, but for now, on with my journey.
As part of the deplaning process when I arrived in “Seoul” (actually LVCC Central Hall Booth #14035 at CES 2020), I scanned my Parallel Reality boarding pass, at which point an overhead camera took a picture of me. The purpose of this picture is to image my frame for tracking purposes. The shape of my body is stored to track me and adjust the display to ensure that I always see only the information intended for me.
Now that I’ve deplaned, I look up at the welcome screen to see where I’m supposed to go to pick up my luggage. I was literally standing right next to another Parallel Reality passenger who was going to “Mexico City,” and that same display that showed my Seoul arrival to me, showed the Mexico City arrival information to him.
When I heard this described in Delta’s keynote, I thought it sounded very sci-fi. Remember the scene in
the movie Minority Report, where Tom Cruise’s character is walking through the transit center and the screen displayed an ad customized for him. That was really what my Parallel Reality experience felt like.
So how does the Parallel Reality technology work?
Parallel Reality displays are enabled by a new pixel. As demonstrated at CES 2020, these pixels are capable of simultaneously projecting millions of light rays of different colors and brightness. Each ray can then be directed, via software, to a specific person. Hence having the camera to track you so it knows how to align the pixels.
This was a fantastic experience. After seeing Delta’s Parallel Reality in action at CES 2020, I’m looking forward to being able to use it in an actual airport environment. The technology is scheduled to launch at Detroit’s Metro Airport in mid-2020, and this initial deployment is intended to be a
“beta test,” if you will. Once Delta and Misapplied Sciences have assessed the lessons learned and made the necessary improvements, Delta will then begin deploying the new technology more broadly.
The Parallel Reality system as I tested it today at CES 2020 supported eight languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Adding other languages will be relatively easy, as with any localization effort, and any new ones will be brought online as demand requires.
Hungry for more innovation? Visit the ClearObject website at www.clearobject.com and check out how we’re helping our customers innovate. Want to chat some more about this or call me out for being a Delta fan boy? Hit me up on Twitter @r_felice.
About the Author
Ron Felice is a product owner in ClearObject’s Engineering Product Development R&D group. Prior to ClearObject, he was a solution architect at IBM, where he worked for 14 years. He has worked in the technology sector for 25 years overall.
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