HP Labs Creates New Hologram 3D Display Technology

March 27, 2013
By: Rory Lidstone

One of the main complaints leveled in typical three-dimensional display technology is the need for glasses to make it work properly. In a way, wearing glasses seems to limit the watching experience rather than enhancing it the way three-dimensional (3D) technology aims to do.

However, a new type of 3D display technology developed by HP Labs may offer a unique solution to this issue.

This new type of display actually plays hologram-like videos without the need for glasses or any complicated apparatuses. Indeed, videos hovers above the screen in this system, allowing viewers to walk around the image and view it from up to 200 different viewpoints.

Unlike conventional 3D, which only allows viewers one perspective, this new multiview 3-D technology reproduces all the light rays reflecting off of an object from every angle. As such, the systems for producing multiview 3D images are much more complex than your average camera, requiring rapidly spinning mirrors, lasers and/or multiple graphics processors.

Based on common LCD technology, HP Labs' new display isn't actually that different from the screens found in most televisions, laptops and phones. But the use of complex physics allows these new HP displays to be as thin as half a millimeter. Obviously, even with its hologram technology aside, this new technology seems ideal for any mobile application.

The display uses nanopatterned grooves to create its holographic images, sending light off in different directions. This method has the advantage of requiring no moving parts – just that the patterns be built into the backlight of the display.

A conventional LCD already does something similar, using a sheet of glass or plastic covered in bumps that scatter white light, directing it through the display's color filters, polarizers and shutters.

HP Labs' new display takes this one step further, however, by using patterns on the nanoscale.


Edited by Braden Becker