WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Life sized holographic displays will be supercharged by 6G technology, and Samsung’s pushing hard to get the tech ready for launch in 2028.
Samsung wants to dominate the future, which is why together we looked at what life would be like in 2071, their centennial. Now, capitalising on that vision and in the wake of multiple breakthroughs in the holographic space that’s seen the emergence of real holograms just as you see in sci-fi movies, holographic gaming tables, holodeck prototypes, and frogs ‘trapped’ in volumetric displays, Samsung are innovating hard. And now, as Samsung looks towards a future dominated by 6G that will finally give people everywhere the bandwidth to bring life-size holograms to life the company has unveiled a holographic display that allows high-resolution 3D videos to be viewed from a variety of angles and which could be made thin enough to be incorporated into a smartphone like this holographic smartphone.
“The holographic display delivers the most realistic visual representation of our reality,” says Hong-Seok Lee at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in South Korea. “We show the first working system of slim holographic display.”
Samsung’s newest holographic tech
Holographic displays manipulate light beams to produce a virtual 3D image in space, without requiring any special glasses or external equipment, and most holographic displays can only produce high-resolution images when viewed directly in front of the display. As you can see the team from Samsung has increased the viewing angle for holographic video by 30 times by using a backlight that redirects the image.
“The steering backlight unit can steer the hologram toward the observer who is outside of the original viewing angle,” says Lee. “There is no eye fatigue and you can enjoy 3D comfortably.”
This is because, like natural viewing, the two images for the two eyes required for a 3D effect come from the same point on the hologram and so there is less eye muscle tension and more accurate depth perception. Watching a film with 3D glasses involves your eyes looking at slightly different points, which can cause muscle strain.
“The ultimate goal of holographic display would be to deliver the most realistic representation, where people cannot tell the difference between real objects and virtually generated ones,” says Lee.
The display components are about 1 centimetre thick in total, so more research is needed before it can be used in smartphones, “but it will not take very long”, says Lee.
This work paves the way for devices like smartphones, tablets or computer monitors to have user-friendly holographic displays, says Deepak Sahoo at Swansea University in the UK. “The system could be scaled further to make handheld holographic displays and personal holographic digital tools,” he says.
Journal reference: Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19298-4