In theaters, 3-D movies are everywhere. But how about a 3-D holographic movie on your mobile phone?
At Hewlett Packard Laboratories, a team led by physicist David Fattal has found a way to make 3-D, hologram-like displays for tiny screens -- no glasses required. And they've done it using inexpensive, readily available parts.
The still images and video created are visible from wide angles, unlike other 3-D imaging technologies, which tend to limit how far to one side the viewer can be from the hologram. The research appears today in the journal Nature.
"For a mobile device, it needs a wider angle [than a television] because you are more likely to tilt your hand, and we want the feeling of a virtual object in the screen in front of you," Fattal said at a press briefing.
The HP team built the display using a thin piece of glass, a liquid-crystal display and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). First, the researchers etched 500,000 circles – essentially pixels -- into the surface of the glass, each one comprised of a striped grating pattern made from sub-micrometer-sized grooves.