Consider this the coolest smartphone you can't own. Queen's University's Human Media Lab has built a smartphone called the HoloFlex that includes a flexible body and holographic display. What exactly does that mean? It's essentially an amped up version of the 3D displays and flexible phones we've already seen.
Rather than creating one image for each eye, like a traditional 3D screen, HoloFlex's display has a layer of tiny lenses over it that disperse light in multiple directions. It's supposed to let multiple people see the 3D image at once, without a need for head tracking or 3D glasses.
The phone also uses bending in a way that we haven't seen before: it's an actual command for the phone. Rather than just being a novelty, the HoloFlex uses bending to let people interact with what's on screen in a third dimension. In one example, the lab shows how bending the phone moves an object in the foreground closer to an object in the distance. It also shows 3D, bendy Angry Birds:
The Human Media Lab also made a non-holographic bending phone. You can read more on that here.
There's at least one major downside to the HoloFlex. Even though you're looking at a 1080p display, what you end up with after it's been fed through HoloFlex's lenses is a 160 x 104 pixel display, which — and this should go without saying — is not good for a modern smartphone. That means that, for now at least, it's hard to see how this technology can be applied to consumer phones. But maybe when 16K smartphone displays come standard, we'll have something to work with.
Images credit: Human Media Lab