A holographic display developed by researchers at Samsung allows high-resolution 3D videos to be viewed from a variety of angles and could be made thin enough to be incorporated into a 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.”
Holographic displays manipulate light beams to produce a virtual 3D image in space, without requiring any special glasses or external equipment.
Existing holographic technology can only produce high-resolution images when viewed directly in front of the display, as there is a limited viewing angle.
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