Researchers at Human Media Lab, one of Canada's top media laboratories, have developed the "world's first holographic, flexible smartphone display" called the HoloFlex.
While every other media — 3D TV, movie theaters and game consoles, require users to either wear polarized glasses or use head tracking devices, HoloFlex phone's innovative design offers a smarter alternative.
The prototype smartphone features a 1,920 x 1,080 high definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touchscreen that can be bent without damaging the device. The HoloFlex is capable of rendering 3D images and videos, which can be viewed simultaneously by multiple users, without the need for glasses or other head tracking gear.
The holographic effect is achieved by breaking up the full HD display into 16,000 12-pixel wide hexagons. Each tiny fisheye lens renders a slightly different image when viewed through a 3D-printed overlay and the images will appear to float off the screen, as well as provide depth. Additionally, the HoloFlex phone allows users to move the device around and view the 3D images from almost any angle.
The tradeoff, though, is that 3D holograms displayed on the device are lower in resolution at just 160 x 104 pixels. Tech enthusiasts, however, believe that the resolution will improve over time as manufacturing technologies continuously progress.
Another cool feature of the HoloFlex is its flexibility. The device has a ReFlex display, which allows users to move objects in virtual space by bending the screen forward or backward. Additionally, through using a depth camera, the device will provide enriched 3D video conferencing capabilities that enable more immersive interaction between users.
To better showcase the features of HoloFlex, Human Media Lab has also built a 3D version of Angry Birds as its first demo application. By bending the screen, users can initiate a virtual slingshot that launches the red avian character and crashes it into a pile of wood.
"When the bird flies across the screen, the holographic display makes the bird literally pop out of the screen in the third dimension," Human Media Lab explained in a press release.
The internal specifications of the phone also include a 1.5 GHz processor and 2 GB RAM, with Android 5.1 on the software side. According to Human Media Lab, the HoloFlex prototype will be on display at San Jose ACM CHI 2016 conference next week.