Ostendo designed chip to bring holographic displays to smartphones

It’s a classic scene in the classic sci-fi Star Wars when Princess Leia is seen in holographic form beamed from a lens in the front of R2D2. However you will be able to see and interact with such imagery from your smartphone or smartwatch ‘soon’ according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The classic Star Wars holographic message

The classic Star Wars holographic message

Ostendo Technologies Inc. has been working on this tech for 9 years according to the WSJ. During that time it has managed to reduce the size of the tech required for these holograms down from large machines to something comparable with a standard smartphone camera assembly. Look at the picture below.

A holographic projector chip in the palm of your hand

A holographic projector chip in the palm of your hand

A single chip from Ostendo can currently project video onto a 48-inch diagonal surface for viewing however it is working to expand this projection into 3D using arrays of such chips in unison. The first projection chip will launch next year but we will have to wait until the following year for the holographic projection abilities described in the opening paragraph. However a test array with six chips was seen by the WSJ recently as Ostendo demonstrated some of the visual capabilities to come: the chips beamed a pair of rotating dice into the air and the “image and motion appeared consistent, irrespective of the position of the viewer,” says the WSJ.

Already the firm has been discussing plans with major handset manufacturers and expects the 3D imagery to be spurting from our smart device screens by H2 2015. The part cost for Ostendo’s graphical projection component should be about $30 per chip according to current company estimates.

Ostendo's chip installed

Ostendo’s chip installed

This projection tech is seen as a less obtrusive alternative to eyewear or VR glasses to provide users with much bigger visuals than that limited portal we get from gazing at our smartwatches or smartphones. Would you prefer such a pop-up holographic display or having to wear some form of eyewear? I think I would prefer the former for convenience and comfort.

Mark Tyson

Mark has worked for a number of years as a newshound on other technology news websites. He decided to write for Tech Assimilate thanks to this web site's open embracing vision of the fascinating world of personal technology. Mark has also worked in the printing and advertising industries for tens of years previously.

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