on May 16th, 2016

Bendable phones are getting closer and closer to being a reality. There are hurdles, but nothing engineers cannot eventually work around to bring the smartphone market a phone that can bend without breaking and produce 3D images. Queen's University Human Media Lab have played around with this technology and are saying that they have developed the world's first holographic flexible smartphone. 

They have nicknamed the phone the HoloFlex. The phone uses tiny lenses, planted onto a 1,920 x 1,080 HD OLED screen which then also shows images in 3D. The engineers explain that is lightfield lens array and OLED touchscreen technology that enabled them to craft a screen that would show 3D images without the need for glasses or head tracking and also bends. 

"It has a light field display, preserving the angles of all the light rays in a 3D image through a layer of microlenses," say the engineers in the promotional video. This allegedly allows multiple people looking at one device to see stereoscopic depth images with motion parallax without any glasses. Right now, the images don't look all that impressive and the screen looks clunky to operate due to lagging issues but as the technology progresses it will obviously become just like our smartphones we use today. 

Just imagine Skyping or Face-timing someone and their face pops out of your screen in a holographic representation of them. 

This is not the first time these specific engineers from Queen's University have played with bendable, holographic materials. They also have a bendable smartphone prototype that is less 3D but is very bendable and can do some interesting stuff. ReFlex is a smartphone the engineers are releasing that is bendable to a point, and can mimic the act of flipping pages in a book with its bendable surface. The engineers, as they did in their holographic example, play Angry Birds to show how the technology would work. 


"When this smartphone is bent down on the right, pages flip through the fingers from right to left, just like they would in a book. More extreme bends speed up the page flips. Users can feel the sensation of the page moving through their fingertips via a detailed vibration of the phone." 

The phone utilizes a set of bend sensors and a haptic actuator that sends the vibrations to the phone that sends the haptic feedback into the advance so a user knows and understands how they are controlling the phone and what specific movements makes it respond.  

"This allows for the most accurate physical simulation of interacting with virtual data possible on a smartphone today," said Roel Vertegaal, the director of the Human Media Lab at Queen's University. 

Read the entire report:  ReFlex: A Flexible Smartphone with Active Haptic Feedback for Bend Input by clicking 

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