Meet The HoloFlex - A Flexible, Holographic Smartphone

Humans have dabbled with flexible displays for a while now, but this is the first time it has translated into an awesome concept that could be a reality. Named the HoloFlex, Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab have constructed a holographic 3D smartphone with a flexible body.

Image credit: Human Media Lab

Image credit: Human Media Lab

Watch how this amazing concept works...

So what’s new here? We’ve already seen 3D smartphones fail in the market, and the idea of a flexible display isn’t exactly new either (Queens University were working on this way back in 2013)… Instead, combining the two together provides an interestingly new form of interaction across the Z-axis - interacting in a third dimension rather than just on a 2D level.

And unlike other “glasses-free 3D” quick fixes of just adding the 3D glass lens material over the top of the display, HoloFlex’s display has a layer of tiny lenses over it that works to disperse the light in multiple directions. This means it’s not just single use - multiple people can see the 3D image at once without head tracking or glasses.

How do we interact with the phone? Well, this is where it gets good… The bendiness of the display is actually used as a command for the phone. Being able to push into or bend back a screen to work in a third dimension is a far better UI than long taps or firm pushes. 

Image credit: Human Media Lab

Image credit: Human Media Lab

In all the examples from working with a 3D model of a teapot, to a game of Angry Birds, you can see how this could very well become a reality.

Okay, you’ve sold me! What’s the future here? We’ve got a while to wait before this becomes a reality, because of one major problem… While it is a 1080p display inside, you’re really only looking at a 160 x 104-pixel display after it’s shown through HoloFlex’s lenses - which anybody with a common knowledge of smartphones should know is nowhere near good enough!

But there is definitely something here. As the world learns to fall back in love with gadgets and all the gimmicks that come with it (and a few generations of display technology pass us by), this could be coming to a pocket near you.