3D holograms could soon be coming to your mobile phone. Inspired by the famous Princess Leia hologram from Star Wars, a U.S. company is showcasing a prototype display at the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona and says it could be used for real-time video calls. Ivor Bennett reports
Longed for by techies and trekkies for years... 3D holograms are no longer just in the movies. Named after Star Wars' Princess Leia and her famous hologram scene, the U.S. company has developed a prototype for mobiles. Founder David Fattal is showcasing the technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID FATTAL, FOUNDER AND CEO, LEIA, SAYING: "It's a display that is able to project 64 different images, going in different directions of space. So that when you look at it, your left eye and your right eye will actually see a different image and you will see in 3D." Conventional 3D movies can only be seen from one angle. But the multiple images here give depth from multiple angles - all without the geeky glasses. SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "So here we have a blown up version of the technology. 64 cameras capturing the same image from 64 different angles. It's all live video that's transmitted back to a screen in real time where you should have your very own hologram selfie." The hardware itself is very simple. Just a standard LCD display. Inside is where it gets complicated. Nanotechnology on a scale 100 times smaller than bacteria. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID FATTAL, FOUNDER AND CEO, LEIA, SAYING: "We essentially change just one small chief component which is called the backlight and we introduce our nano technology on to it. It sounds very scary but actually it's very benign and cheap to do. And out of this we're able to send rays of light into space instead of disorganised light that would propagate in all directions like in a normal display. And as a result we're able to send images exactly where we want them to appear." Resolution is still a hurdle. But in theory the technology could be used in any existing display. With applications in gaming, maps and real-time video calls. Leia plans to release a small display module later this year, with full-colour 3D images and video. Do we need it? Probably not. But as with most new technology, we'll probably want it.