HP Labs in Palo Alto, California is currently working on a new type of three-dimensional display technology that is capable of displaying hologram-like images and videos using a modified LCD. The technology could make it possible for phones, laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices to display hologram-like still images with 200 viewpoints and videos with 64 viewpoints and 30 frames per second.
The new technology doesn't require any moving parts or glasses. Videos and images that are displayed using this technology hover above the screen and viewers are able to walk around them and experience them just as you would a real object.
To make this possible, HP replaces the scattering bumps found in a conventional LCD with deliberately patterned grooves that can send light in different directions. HP researcher David Fattal calls these grooves "directional pixels." Each directional pixel has three sets of grooves that can direct red, green, and blue light in a particular direction. The number of viewpoints a display is capable of producing is determined by the number of directional pixels. Light from the pixels then passes through liquid crystal shutters to make a moving image, just as they do in a LCD today.
With this technology, the patterns can be built into the backlight of the display. Because the new display requires 200 different images to produce content, the most promising applications for these displays will be in showing computer-generated images. For example, the technology could be used to display different windows next to one another, a 3D model of a building, or Google Maps in 3D.
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