Researchers from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University has unveiled Holoflex, the world's first holographic flexible smartphone. The phone can render 3D images with motion parallax and stereoscopy to multiple users without head tracing or glasses—and do it simultaneously.

The display is a 1920×1080 full high-definition flexible organic light emitting diode (FOLED) touchscreen variety. There is full view of the 3D object with images rendered in 12-pixel wide circular blocks. By projecting a printed flexible microlens array with more than 16,000 fisheye lenses, users can view a 3D object from multiple angles by rotating the phone.

The HoloFlex also has a bend sensor so that the phone can bend to move objects along the display’s z-axis. Other features include a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 2 GB of memory, Adreno 430 GPU supporting OpenGL 3.1, and the board runs Android 5.1.

Holoflex Figure 1: Flexing the screen of the HoloFlex is accomplished via a bend sensor. (Source: Queen’s University)

Researchers, led by Dr. Roel Vertegaal, anticipate that there will be many applications for this technology. The first is using bend gestures to edit 3D models in 3D printing. Multiple users can examine a 3D model simultaneously, each from a different point of view. Another application will naturally be for holographic gaming.

The HoloFlex team was the same group previously responsible for the ReFlex that featured a flexible display and tactile feedback. When the ReFlex display was bent to the right, virtual pages flipped as the pages of a book would. The technology used highly detailed vibrations across the display, designed to enhance the sensation of flipping through the pages. The vibrations combined with the passive force feedback of bending the panel, so that the user felt that they were actually flipping pages.

The HoloFlex research was supported by Immersion Canada Inc. and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

With all these zoomy smartphones, how does anyone get any work done?