HoloFlex Flexible 3D Smartphone Display Projects Holograms In The Palm Of Your Hand Glasses-Free

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It seems as though our smartphones continually become faster and more capable with each passing year, but how we actually interact with them has changed very little since Apple first introduced the iPhone. Researchers from the Queen's University Human Media Lab in Ontario, however, have come up with a new type of flexible display technology that is sure to grab your attention.

The researchers have developed what they call a “HoloFlex” OLED display with a resolution of 1920x1080. While that seems like a pretty standard display for a mid-range smartphone, what makes HoloFlex so interesting is that there are actually 16,000 minuscule fisheye lenses — each representing 12-pixel circles — covering the display.

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Together, this allows the viewer to perceive that he or she is looking at a 3D image without the need for an expensive headset or projectors. You can even scope out a 3D object from multiple angles by simply rotating the phone around. The downside to all of this 3D madness is that the base 1920x1080 resolution is whittled down to a mere 160x104 resolution image.

So we know where the “Holo” part comes into play, but what about the “Flex”? Well, the HoloFlex display has a bend sensor incorporated into it, allowing a person to move an object along the z-axis by simply squeezing the display. According to the researchers, “using the touchscreen, a user can swipe to manipulate objects in the x and y axes, while squeezing the display to move objects along the z-axis.”

But of course, our readers want to know what this could possibly mean for mobile gaming. In that regard, the researchers at the Human Media Lab modified Angry Birds so that you can actually fling birds across the screen by bending and releasing the display. And given the 3D visual effects afforded by the display, the birds “pop out” of the screen as they destroy the virtual environments around them.

That seems pretty cool to us, and we can’t wait to see how the technology matures over time — perhaps with a QHD display as a base and smaller lenses to pump up the resolution of the resulting 3D image.


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