[스타트업-ing] Shin Chang-bong, CEO of Morpic, “Realize 3D on flat display”

In order to nurture startups in specialized industries, it is necessary to systematically solve demanded technologies and support demonstrations from related institutions. An example is the ‘Incheon Airport 3K Startup Promotion Project’ that supports startups in the aviation and airport industries. For this project, three organizations, Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority, Incheon International Airport Corporation, and Incheon Technopark, have been discovering and nurturing startups in the fields of K-culture, K-food, and K-tourism since 2020. In 2020, we supported 20 startups, and in 2021, we supported 25 startups through the ‘3K+ Startup Incubation Project’ that added K-Digital and New Deal fields.

The company to be introduced this time is Morpic, a 3D display company that developed ‘glasses-free 3D display (Light field Display)’.

Changbong Shin, CEO of Morpic, Source: Morpic

Can’t we give 3D to a flat world?IT Donga: Please introduce Morphic.

Changbong Shin (CEO Shin): I got an opportunity to commercialize it through an in-house venture program (C-lab) with team members who were researching glasses-free 3D display at the Samsung Electronics DMC Research Center in the past. And in 2015, it was spun off as a company specializing in light field displays. Our mission is not to develop an image drawn on a flat-panel display, but to develop a ‘glasses-free 3D display (Light Field Display)’ that provides an experience that allows you to connect directly with another world, place, and dimension beyond the frame. We have developed a product that anyone can use easily and conveniently anytime, anywhere.

We developed a technology that provides a sense of reality in the same viewing environment as 2D without a separate auxiliary tool, and completed a light field display that can be used as if a protective case or protective film was attached.

In March 2017, the 3D VR viewer ‘Snap3D’ for smartphones and the player app ‘Mplayer3D’ were released. Subsequently, it participated in CES in 2019 and won the Innovation Award, and its technological prowess was recognized. Since then, the company has expanded its product lineup by releasing various products such as personal display systems, 3D smart signage, 3D mirroring software, 3D modeling viewers, and 3D content creators. Signed up and running the business.
‘Snap3D’ won the Innovation Award at CES 2019, Source: Morpic

IT Donga: What was the background to starting the company, and what difficulties did you face in the process?

CEO Shin: Personally, 2015 was the worst year in my career that I worked for for nearly 10 years. As I was developing 3D technology, the necessity of which was strongly questioned by the failure of 3D TV, all the signals around me were shouting ‘I will jump out of the ship’. The lowest price you get for the first time, the increasingly opaque commercialization opportunity, the team members leaving one by one… However, I couldn’t quit with Shin Yoon-cheol, who was still developing the ‘glasses-free 3D tablet’ until the end. Even before the word virtual reality (VR) came out, I thought that a technology that showed space as a space was necessary.

After a while, Shin Yun-cheol came to my seat and asked me to have a cup of coffee. His expression was serious, and his voice was a little shaky. ‘ah! I thought, ‘The task is disappearing like this.’ They left the office and walked to the coffee shop outside the office without saying a word to each other. I can’t remember what I ordered, but the early summer sun was pouring down into the coffee shop. What Shin Yun-cheol said was unexpected. He said, “Don’t give up here, let’s go out and build our own company. If you do it, I’ll do it too.” I thought it was sincere because it came from the mouth of Shin Yoon-cheol, who is usually calm and calm, but it was not easy to believe. It was such a welcome word. Instead of getting off the boat that was anchored in the harbor, I decided to drive the boat and go out to the rough ocean.

Three months later, he quit the company and set sail the Morpic. On her first day, she sat side by side with only two desks in her office, which is about 20 square feet. No matter what trials she may face, she has made a resolution to keep. ‘No matter how many people we have, no matter how big or small our office is, we will become a technology company with the world’s best stereoscopic image solutions. So, we will make it easy and convenient for anyone to use.”

I didn’t know what to do, but I knew what to do. That day was our Day 1.

The Morpic, which departed like that, encountered a typhoon that seemed impossible to escape for the past six years, and almost died of starvation. Still, we have never changed or given up on our values. We continued to move toward the North Star that we were seeking, without any doubt. Our journey is still ongoing. We made the world’s first three-dimensional image device using the protective case of a smartphone, and found our role in the new continent called Metaverse. Morpic is creating an era where space can be viewed as it is, even on flat-panel displays.

Morphic to bring 3D space to the display

IT Donga: What are Morpic’s core technologies and solutions?

CEO Shin: Morpic implements binocular disparity and motion disparity on a flat-panel display to make the image recognized as a three-dimensional space. This is our core technology. In order to express as if there is real space in the screen, it is necessary to feel the ‘binocular disparity’ caused by the slightly different positions of the human eyes through the screen. As shown in the figure below, two images from slightly different viewpoints should be mixed and displayed on one screen, and different images should be displayed separately for the left eye and the right eye.

Binocular parallax as if there is real space inside the screen, source: morphic

The above illustration is to explain the binocular disparity. When looking at the screen with the naked eye, the left eye sees the sea and the right eye sees the desert. In addition, a viewpoint tracking camera attached to the top of the screen detects the user’s viewing position and displays the video appropriately at that position.

In addition, in order to feel the movement parallax as if there is an actual object in the screen, several images from slightly different viewpoints are mixed and displayed on one screen, and when the viewing position is changed, the image corresponding to the changed position is displayed.

Motion parallax as if there is a real object in the screen, different aspects of the shape on the screen can be seen by changing the viewing position, Source: Morpic

There are three main solutions Morpic provides. The first is a 3D display solution that realistically connects different spaces from far away. You can’t see another space far away with your own eyes, so take a picture of it with your camera. An example is remote control. Maneuvering is a task that requires a sense of distance, such as avoiding numerous obstacles in the direction of travel or selecting only the necessary ones from overlapping objects. However, the sense of distance cannot be felt in the 2D display, which shows the actual 3D space seen with two eyes by pressing it into a 2D plane. It’s like driving with one eye closed.

The 3D display solution we implemented was demonstrated with a glasses-free 3D remote monitoring system in cooperation with Hyundai Heavy Industries and KT. A 3D camera is installed on a ship of Hyundai Heavy Industries, and the captured image is transmitted in real time through 5G communication and viewed as a stereoscopic image using a 3D display. An official from a heavy equipment remote control company using the solution said, “It felt as if I was looking at a real cockpit,” “near and distant objects seemed to be separated on the screen, and we could estimate how far apart they were.”

Remote control of equipment via an autostereoscopic 3D monitor, source: Morpic

Remote control of equipment via an autostereoscopic 3D monitor, source: Morpic

The second solution is a 3D display solution that shows 3D graphics in 3D space. It uses 3D graphics that can realize a three-dimensional space to create a realistic metaverse space or a simulation game that behaves like the real thing. However, through a 2D display, a 3D space is compressed into a 2D plane. I thought so. ‘If you can show the three-dimensional space as it is, wouldn’t it give you a sense of realism as if there is another world beyond the screen?’

By applying this solution to the indoor cycling exercise center ‘K-velo’, the image of ‘Zwift (bicycle metaverse game)’, which provides an experience of riding a bicycle in a virtual space, is expressed as a stereoscopic image through a 3D display. did. Lee Mi-ran, CEO of KBello, said, “I feel like I am immersed in the video because of the sense of space and depth. There will be,” he said.

3D display solution that shows 3D graphics in 3D space, Source: Morpic

The last solution is a 3D smart signage solution that provides a visually immersive experience for many in public places. Every advertiser wants their ads to catch the eye and stay in their memories the moment they see them. A display that adds depth and parallax along with unique content provides a new visual experience. Without capturing attention with noisy devices or unique structures, the content can only be left in the memory by reaching customers with the depth and parallax added to the content.

This solution was applied to the exhibition of Casa Batllo in Barcelona, ​​Spain, which was recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Casa Batllo, the decoration of the high chimney and the exterior façade, which cannot be directly viewed by customers, are produced as 3D images and introduced as 3D smart signage.

Morpic 3D smart signage installed in Casa Batlló, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Source: Morpic

Our two eyes see the world in 3D

IT Donga: I’m curious about the results.

CEO Shin: Since the technology was recognized as the 2019 CES Innovation Award, he has been actively marketing. The glasses-free 3D display is an experience product that allows you to feel the three-dimensional effect when you see it with your own eyes. So, I started participating in overseas exhibitions. Starting with an official contract for confidential products with global company G in August 2020, two types of Morpic core software are released in 2021, and product demonstration is underway with Hyundai Heavy Industries, KT, Karmar, and Elisa.

IT Donga: You must have had a pretty difficult time due to COVID-19.

CEO Shin: When all skyways were blocked due to the impact of Corona 19, it was a big blow that we could not meet and show experience products offline. During this period, public institutions such as ‘KITA’, ‘KOTRA’, and ‘Gyeonggi Startup Support Center’ took advantage of the opportunity to directly arrange meetings with large overseas companies and continued contact.

Now, the road to the sky is opening up again little by little, and two types of 55-inch and 65-inch morphic glasses-free 3D displays will be exhibited at ‘InfoComm 2022’ to be held in Las Vegas in June. In addition, a display that can view 3D images without 3D glasses is installed. Visitors to the Morpic booth will be able to enjoy 3D graphics, 3D games, and videos shot with a 3D camera without any additional conversion on the glasses-free 3D display.

IT Donga: Is there any technology to be released in the near future or to be introduced in the future?

CEO Shin: Currently, we are focusing on B2B business. For customers who need 3D products regardless of the field, we have prepared the modularly prepared Morpic hardware and software samples for quick testing by combining them according to the purpose. Samples prepared in a modular way are proud of being able to respond quickly to the various requirements of customers.

Morpic’s hardware and software sample testing, source: Morpic

IT Donga: As a participating company in the ‘Incheon Airport 3K Startup Fostering Project’, what effect did you see?

CEO Shin: Morpic supplies both hardware and software. Of these, the cost of producing a hardware sample is quite burdensome, but the problem was solved through the Incheon International Airport 3K Startup Incubation Project. In particular, with the support of Incheon Techno Park, various samples could be produced, which allowed them to enter the market.

IT Donga: What are your business plans and ultimate corporate goals for this year?

CEO Shin: This year, we are implementing three strategies for the stable realization of our business plan and sustainable growth. Morpic’s biggest competitor is ‘the status quo’. Many people do not know the need for a 3D display that intuitively shows a space because they do not feel uncomfortable in a flat-panel display. However, not knowing the necessity does not mean that it is not necessary. Let’s take a car as an example. Since the development of automobiles, it has changed to an era where people can commute tens of kilometers to work. before that

We aim to overcome the reluctance to change with ‘products that satisfy customer expectations’. Morpic is making every effort to bridge the gap between customer expectations and the current level. Morpic’s ‘Snap3D’, which won the CES Innovation Award, has the same appearance as the protective case and is easy and convenient to use. Anyone who has a smartphone can be converted into a lightfield 3D display by simply inserting the case toward the screen.

We believe that ‘products that satisfy customer expectations’ can popularize 3D. For humans who see the world in 3D with two eyes, 3D display is a more natural viewing method than 2D display. Other conditions being similar, humans will choose the more natural method. Morpic will lower the public’s reluctance to new attempts and increase the range and frequency of use with ‘3D displays that satisfy customer expectations’.

Donga.com IT specialist Kwon Myung-gwan [email protected]

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