This Flexible, Holographic Smartphone Is The Future

And it won't come soon enough

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This holographic, flexible display could be used for 3D video conferences.
This holographic, flexible display could be used for 3D video conferences. Human Media Lab

Smartphones haven’t really changed in the last few years. Yes, they’re faster, have high resolution, and take better photos, but the core technology has remained relatively unchanged.

But that might change soon. Researchers at Queen’s University Human Media Lab in Australia showed off Holoflex, a holographic, flexible phone with an OLED display that’s a breath of life into the future of smartphones. This means holograms without 3D glasses or any kind of equipment, that can be viewed at any angle.

For the hologram to work, the phone’s display is covered by more than 16,000 fisheye lenses that bend the light from the screen, like projecting the image through a glass ball. The curvature of each lens shows a different portion of the image as the viewing angle changes, giving the impression of a hologram.

While the underlying screen is 1920×1080 pixels, the final resolution (after being translated through all those fisheye lenses) is 160×104. That resolution won’t wow any consumers, but as the Human Media Lab’s video shows, it’s more than enough to be a proof of concept for tasks like video calling or playing simple 3D games.

Plus, the phone still retains the standard Android phone specifications, with a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and 2 GB of memory, and it runs Android Lollipop.

This technology certainly won’t be in smartphones in this decade, but in terms of promising future technology, this is near the top of the list. The Holoflex will be presented at ACM CHI 2016 on May 9.