A small contingent of startups are setting out to show that there’s m ore to virtual technology than just playing around with a pair of goggles. Emerging technology powered by virtual and augmented reality opens a door into a digital world, with special headsets as the key.

Days ago, Magic Leap lifted the curtain on a $2300 visor that superimposes computer-generated images in the user’s line of vision, after raising more than $2 billion from major investors. The device enters a field where giants like Facebook Microsoft and Apple are all bringingtheir own versions of virtual reality to consumers using headsets.

Still, a handful of companies see the future of virtual images breaking free from the constraints of headgear, in a way that makes the user experience more interactive and applicable to the real world. One startup called Looking Glass has developed portable devices that display 3D holograms, and according to the company’s founder, the next wave in digital computing won’t involve bulky goggles that isolate users from one another.

Looking Glass’s invention — which generates holograms from a small box right in front of the user — intends to “get content alive and shareable,” founder Shawn Frayne told CNBC recently. The Looking Glass comes in two sizes, 8.9 and 15.6-inches, that start at $600 and $3,000 respectively.

“Our goal at Looking Glass is to get the hologram into every home and school and hospital, because we believe that’s the only way to allow people to interact with advanced 3D content without headsets,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s gonna be an all headset future.” Read more from cnbc.com…

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