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Interview with David Fattal, CEO and Founder of Leia Inc.

David Fattal is the CEO and founder at Leia Inc., the leading provider of glasses-free 3D display hardware and software solutions. He spent nine years at HP Labs working on various aspects of quantum computing and photonics, and holds a PhD in Physics from Stanford University and a BS in theoretical physics from Ecole Polytechnique, France. Fattal holds over 100 granted patents.


David Fattal is one of the most important visionaries in the context of Stereoscopic 3D devices and applications. Many devices and developments are possible thanks to him. We were eager to learn more about the vision of the founder of Leia, so, in the frame of the Mobile World Congress, we interviewed him.

Hi David. I know you use the Hydrogen One as your primary phone, I still use it too as my secondary phone, as I think it is still an excellent Android device, even without taking in account the 3D display and camera. What do you think about the bad reviews it had? The Verge even said it was the worst device they reviewed, while praising your actual product lineup.

Absolutely, the Hydrogen One indeed captured a lot of attention, and while it faced its share of critiques, its contributions, particularly in pioneering 3D technology, cannot be overstated. It was a device that pushed the boundaries of what was possible with mobile technology, especially in terms of 3D imaging and community engagement. The Hydrogen One’s ability to capture stunning 3D pictures and videos not only appealed to a dedicated community of 3D enthusiasts but also laid the groundwork for significant advancements in 3D content creation and consumption.Our LeiaPix platform, initially known as HoloPix, became a hub for this vibrant community, amassing a wealth of high-quality 3D content. This repository has been instrumental in developing sophisticated AI algorithms capable of converting 2D images and videos into 3D with remarkable accuracy. The dataset, part of which we made available to the broader community and researchers in 2020, has become a valuable resource for training generative AI networks in depth processing.In hindsight, the Hydrogen One was ahead of its time, exploring and implementing technologies that are now at the core of our product offerings and vision. Its legacy continues to influence and propel our efforts in making 3D technology more accessible and immersive for users across various devices.

How this influenced you for designing the upcoming new Leia phone?

While we can’t dive into specifics or confirm any rumors about a new LeiaSR™ phone, it’s fair to say that our experiences and the community’s feedback help shape our approach. We’re committed to doubling-down on leading the 3D community, focusing on both user-generated and AI-generated content for mobile platforms. This direction reflects our ongoing dedication to innovation and enhancing the 3D experience, ensuring that our technology remains at the forefront of what’s possible in the digital space.

You’re presenting the second generation of the Nubia Pad 3D in the MWC 2024 (third if you count the American version: Lume Pad). How do you decide the changes and evolution of every generation of your devices? Is there something particular you take specially in account for changing things/adding features?

When upgrading our LeiaSR™ for devices, like the nubia Pad 3D II, we focus on technological innovations that enhance the 3D experience while ensuring seamless 2D functionality. Key considerations include improving natural and comfortable viewing, significantly enhancing 3D image quality (including resolution and reducing ghosting), and minimizing the impact on 2D functionality. 

For nubia Pad 3D II, we’ve made substantial improvements, such as increasing 3D resolution by 80%, more than doubling 3D brightness, reducing cross-talk by five times, and integrating 5G for better connectivity with 3D applications and content sharing.

The new nubia Pad 3D II at the MWC 2024

Now, thanks to Apple’s “Spatial” formats, there’s a modern new standard format for 3D files (both for stills and video), with features specially designed for 3D content, like convergence metadata, eye assignment, and main stream for showing to 2d viewers. With this format, both 2d and 3D users can easily share files useful for both. What do you think about YouTube just dropping support for uploading 3D videos recently?

The launch of Apple’s Vision Pro and its “Spatial” formats have indeed been a boon for the 3D content ecosystem, elevating the popularity and understanding of 3D technologies. This move, by providing a modern standard for 3D files, enhances the ease of sharing and viewing 3D content across different platforms. 

Our commitment at Leia is to ensure that our technology is fully interoperable with these emerging standards, allowing for seamless sharing and viewing of 3D content across devices, including those that utilize Apple’s “Spatial” formats. 

Regarding YouTube’s decision to drop support for uploading 3D videos, it’s an interesting development, but given our focus on high-quality 3D content and the capabilities of our LeiaTube app to convert 2D videos to 3D — which includes converting YouTube content on a LeiaSR™ enabled device — we remain optimistic about the future of 3D content sharing and consumption.

Your products are pioneers taking advantage of all the possibilities of 3D, yet making it accessible and friction-less, to avoid some inconveniences of last decade’s 3D formats, which 3D enthusiasts were prolonging instead of using other formats or methods. What other things are you doing to make 3D easy for everyone?

We’re actively making 3D technology accessible and engaging for anyone, anywhere, on any device, today. Beyond offering 3D movies and games, we’re excited about enabling users to create, capture, and share 3D content—transforming everyday memories into vivid, engaging experiences. Our partnership with Zoom to introduce 3D video calls has received positive feedback, highlighting the enhanced engagement in communications. Personally, seeing my kids more involved in their 3D calls with their grandparents is truly heartwarming. Additionally, we’re exploring “Depth (Gen) AI” to convert 2D photos into immersive 3D, aiming to encourage a shift from 2D to intuitive 3D thinking and creation across all ages, making it as simple as a 5-year-old using our platform.

Other LeiaSR™️ devices at the exhibit

The Vision Pro is an amazing product for consuming 3D content, which resembles the good things of HoloLens, but more accessible for mainstream users. But their interfaces, and main elements of the system, are too flat and based on the same 2d displays used for more than a half of a century. What do you think it could be done to take advantage of a new paradigm of 3D displays which can represent volume?

Apple is known for their thoughtful approach to product releases, appealing to the masses rather than niche markets. With the flat layout of vision pro, people find themselves in a familiar, multi-screen environment where they can be immediately and intuitively productive. Of course for 3D enthusiasts this may seem a waste of technological opportunity.  It won’t be long however before you see more immersive experiences on the platform. They already offer 3D movies in their store, 3D avatar based video calling. I’m sure immersive games will follow, as well as a plethora of professional applications in areas including medical, training, logistics or warehousing.

The exciting prospect is what one can do linking the various XR platforms. Using the Zoom and Leia SDK, it would not be hard to build a cross-device 3D Chat application for instance. Or create a virtual space where users could jointly be immersed in a 3D universe from different visualization end points (say a LeiaSR™ enabled tablet for one, a vision pro for the other).

One last question: Are you working on a 3DTV? Tell us a hint of new products and other surprises do you have for this year, without saying what they are.

I’ll give you a hint: bigger is not necessarily better…

Ooh!
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5 thoughts on “Interview with David Fattal, CEO and Founder of Leia Inc.”

  1. The entire glasses free 3d space is a waste of time and money. Leia bought a ton of patents from Phillips who had a few billion dollars plowed into them. If Phillips could not make a product most definitely Leia will never make a product. Matter of fact i heard they can’t give their products away. Total fluff…might as well burn the money spent.

    1. Sorry. But I already purchased 3 products of Leia in the lasts 5 years. And they’re amazing. I still use the 3 products for 3D. Money spent for good

      1. You are an aficionado. 3 products in 5 years ain’t gonna keep the doors open sorry to say.

        1. 3 products ONLY from Leia (basically everything they launched), but spent much more on other 3D devices. Basically I buy everything 3D I can afford. ALL my displays in my life are 3D (except the smartwatch). And you? 🤔

          1. Marc Dannenberg

            I have a 65 inch Stream Ultra D tv sitting in my living room. I directed investment into glasses free 3d companies for the last 2 years. Eye tracking is a non starter, it will never gain any traction.

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