We’ve seen plenty of wild experimental smartphone concepts over the years but the new HoloFlex phone designed by Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab is something else. The phone combines 3D holographic images with a flexible display to create what might be a prototype for smartphones of the future.
The Human Media Lab explains that the HoloFlex is “is capable of rendering 3D images with motion parallax and stereoscopy to multiple simultaneous users without head tracking or glasses.” All images on the device’s display are “rendered into 12-pixel wide circular blocks rendering the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint” so you can see every aspect of an object depending on the angle from which you’re looking at it.
Here is a video showing off the phone in action:
Among other things, the video shows how you can bend the phone’s display to play games such as Angry Birds and to do more granular image editing and graphics design.
The downside here is that the images on the display right now have decidedly low resolutions — in this version, all images are rendered with a resolution of 160 x 104 pixels. In other words, images on the phone right now look very blocky.
Even so, this points the way forward for potentially bigger innovations from companies like Samsung down the line and it’s introducing a whole new way to interact with our phones that goes way beyond what Apple first introduced with 3D Touch last year.