Tiny, holographic icons could sit atop the face of a future smartphone from Samsung.

A patent filing, first spotted by the folks at Patently Mobile, reveals that Samsung is exploring holographic technology, specifically for smartphones and presumably for tablets at some point. 

The patent, published now and filed last fall, describes a system that employs a light emitting device and a translucent surface. The translucent surfaces would be built into front of a smartphone case.

"When an area of the screen corresponding to the entrance optical member emits a light, a holographic image stored in the image hologram is displayed above the light guide member," reads the United States patent application.

Because smartphones are fitted with components to tackle myriad tasks, from photos to phone calls, the scale of the tech seems sensible. There's a good chance the technology would scale up to suit Samsung's phablets and tablets before the company figures out a way to build out the holographic systems for projections bigger than icons.

Other embodiments of systems for projecting holograms relied on laser diodes, light emitting diodes and other light sources, states Samsung in the patent filing.

"However, such hologram display apparatuses have a weakness in that their is large because they are provided with a separate light source having its own power supply," states the application. "Accordingly, there is a problem that these hologram display apparatuses that are not appropriate to be used in mobile devices, such as smart phones  that are small in size and light in weight. "

So to avoid having to draw more power, which would call for a bulkier battery, Samsung wants to keep it simple and achievable. Because while holograms may be cool, it would be a tough sell for Samsung to return to smartphones with the dimensions of bricks, literally, for the sake of developing larger projections.

"One or more exemplary embodiments may provide a mobile device, capable of displaying a hologram that can display a holographic image by using a light emitted from a screen of the mobile device instead of a separated light source, and a hologram display method thereof," states the application. 

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