32K OLED resolution in demand for holographic smartphones

May 11, 2016 // By Julien Happich
In their recent paper "HoloFlex: A Flexible Holographic Smartphone with Bend Input", researchers from Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab (Ontario, Canada) disclosed the world's first holographic smartphone.

The researchers laminated a flexible micro-lens array on top of the OLED-based ReFlex flexible smartphone they had demonstrated back in February to turn its bendable touch-display into a light-field capable interface. Combined with custom ray-tracing algorithms running on the phone's GPU, the flexible display renders holographic-like 3D images with motion parallax and stereoscopy to multiple simultaneous users without head tracking or glasses.

For this prototype, the researchers used 3D-printing to fabricate a matrix of 16,000 fish-eye lenses (only 0.75mm wide each) and cover a 1920x1080 full high-definition OLED display with it (403dpi with about a 0.063mm pixel pitch). Since each micro-lens dome covers 12-pixel wide sub-images (in fact a circular image made of approximately 80 pixels), they each contribute a pixel block of the entire scene from a particular virtual camera position with a 35º field of view (determined by the optical properties of the micro-lenses). Altogether, this yields a 160x104 resolution image floating in 3D a few centimetres off the actual screen, to be viewed from any angle.

HoloFlex side close-up with 12-pixel wide pixel blocks
and half-dome microlens array dispersing light rays.

As for the ReFlex smartphone, touch input allows for x,y input, while bend sensors allow users to control the z dimension, by squeezing the display.