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This Holographic, Flexible Smartphone Makes 'Angry Birds' Way Better

For now, it’s still pretty primitive. But the future could hold some truly fantastic things for this mini 3D projector.
Image: Human Media Lab / Queen’s University

You may not see this flexible, holographic smartphone on store shelves anytime soon, and when you see this video, you'll see why. It's still pretty low resolution, but it can do some pretty impressive things that your iPhone can't.

The HoloFlex, as it's called, was built by researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen's University. Its touchscreen allows users to see holographic images and manipulate them by bending the phone.

"HoloFlex features a 1920x1080 full high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touchscreen display," The Queen's University press release says. "Images are rendered into 12-pixel wide circular blocks rendering the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint. These pixel blocks project through a 3D printed flexible microlens array consisting of over 16,000 fisheye lenses. The resulting 160 x 104 resolution image allows users to inspect a 3D object from any angle simply by rotating the phone."

That 160 x 104 resolution is probably why this tech won't replace your iPhone anytime soon, but the tech is still pretty impressive, especially the input method it offers. The Angry Birds demo, for example, shows the user bending the phone to increase tension in the slingshot in-game.

The HoloFlex uses off-the-shelf or modified components, and it's still in the prototype stage. The Queen's researchers will unveil HoloFlex in San Jose, California at the top conference in Human-Computer Interaction, ACM CHI 2016, on May 9.