Samsung phone with holographic 3D projection display
Patents, patents, patents… There’s so many of them. It seems that we are getting at least several new mobile phone designs patented every week.
What it is about the mobile phone industry, that makes the R&D departments of cellphone vendors churn out patent applications, like no other electronics/gadget maker does?
I have no idea. But the thinking process, and the ideas that are revealed in these patent applications are fascinating to watch.
Some of them are pretty stupid, and will never se the light of day, others are so out there that it may take years to get to the market, and some of them become a real product even before we hear about them.
Here’s the latest interesting patent application from Samsung, that I would put somewhere between the “far out there” and “may become a real product soon” categories.
A mobile handset with projection display and/or 3D holographic screen.
Yep. You heard it right. While the big rear projection TVs are becoming extinct, the projection technology may get a second life in a mobile phone displays, and even usher in a whole new 3D user experience.
The reasoning is simple – while they might be thin enough for the TV sets and PC monitors, the LCDs that are commonly used in the mobile handsets, are comparatively thick. Also, due to the production techniques, they have standardized horizontal and vertical sizes, which significantly limits phone design possibilities.
But optical projectors are becoming small enough to put them into a mobile phone.
Then, all that’s missing is a “panel type waveguide” (basically a refractive plate that spreads incoming light waves evenly throughout the surface), to pick up the projected light and transform it into an image on the phone display.
And it’s just the thing that Samsung is describing in it’s patent application. There are numerous advantages to such set-up.
Since the panel type waveguide involved is just a piece of solid material, it can be sliced and diced to any size and shape you want. It will be much thinner then any other display technology. It will be much less prone to breaking.
And it gets better. In Samsung’s own words:
Although it has been assumed in the above description that the panel-type waveguide according to the present invention is used as a screen, on which source images emitted by the optical unit are two-dimensionally displayed, the panel-type waveguide may be replaced with a three-dimensional hologram screen so that source images emitted by the optical unit are three-dimensionally displayed on a plane spaced from the hologram screen by a predetermined distance.
Did you catch that? Mobile phones with holographic 3D optical displays may be just around the corner 😉