As it happens, one of the wildest -- and most divisive -- things I've seen at CES so far doesn't have wires or draw power or even turn on. MirraViz is a company out of Fremont, California that specializes in producing a very specific kind of projector screen that lets multiple people watch different videos at the same time. We're not talking about picture-in-picture, either: What you get to see depends entirely on where you're sitting.
In theory, MirraViz's screen is similar to one of those lenticular cards you probably played with as a kid. The difference is, the millions of optical elements embedded into the panel mean there's no actual limit to the number of videos you could display on it simultaneously. It ultimately just boils down to how many projectors you can squeeze around the panel. The company had two set up in the heart of Mandalay Bay's South Ballroom, and there was nothing particularly special about them. Even so, I could watch Toy Story 3 and b-roll of some beautiful, sizzling bacon on the same screen just by shuffling left and right a few feet.
The effect, while not always perfect, was still enough to keep me glued in place for longer than I care to admit. Moreover, the MirraViz panels do a surprisingly great job reflecting light, so images were noticeably brighter than they would be on a traditional television. And, of course, they work for more than just watching movies: The company is also making a big push to endear itself to gamers.
MirraViz founder David Jiang says only a few companies in the world are technically sophisticated enough to produce these panels, but since they're not in any way electronic, they're considerably cheaper than a standard television. There are, of course, some shortcomings. For one, you basically have to be right behind the projector to get the best possible view of a video. That also means MirraViz screens are almost impossible to photograph, though that's really more my problem than yours. Oh, and duh: It's only really novel if you already have -- or are willing to buy -- multiple projectors. For those who already own a suite of projectors, MirraViz panels start at 55 inches for $499. For those with money to burn and novelty in their hearts, the company also offers packages with projectors pre-mounted on gaming chairs just because.
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