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Holographic Displays Coming to Smartphones

Light-field displays for mobile devices might be only a year away

4 min read
Holographic Displays Coming to Smartphones
Quantum Photonic Imager: Ostendo’s light-field display produces 3-D images using light-emitting pixels and piles of pixel-level processing.
Photo: Ostendo Technologies

Looking at a stereoscopic 3-D display takes some mental gymnastics. When you look at objects in real life, your brain expects the area of focus to be the same as where your eyes need to converge. But in order to see in stereoscopic 3-D—in which a different image is presented to each eye—you focus on the screen but your eyes converge where the image appears to be. For some, this is a headache-inducing dilemma.

Holograms get around that by projecting light right to the spot where your eyes would focus: The light beams travel through that point and hit your eyes just as if they’d come from an object that was actually there. Even better, holograms work from any angle and don’t require glasses. Up until now this type of display has been a weightyaffair, requiring large projectors and screens or a very restricted viewing angle. But two companies, Ostendo Technologies and Hewlett-Packard spin-off Leia, promise to put such holographic displays—more properly called light-field displays—in your pocket within a year or two. It might not be Princess Leia projected from an astromech droid, but it’s close.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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