17 June 2014
As it stands, the touchscreen experience is confined to a flat, two-dimensional world. Smartphones provide that essential pocketable portability, and if you’re willing to trade off on convenience, there are larger screen tablets. But for inventor Hussein S. El-Ghoroury, the next phase in the ongoing evolution of displays won’t involve any such compromises.
That’s because the founder and chief executive of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Ostendo Technologies is readying a potentially game-changing technology that may make its way into upcoming generations of connected gadgets. In such a scenario, visuals can be rendered three-dimensionally, as holograms. This means that tedious tasks, such as shopping for a couch on your smartwatch, would be made easier with the option of beaming up life-sized replications. Video conferencing will take on a futuristic “Star Wars” aesthetic, while streaming movies will look like something more akin to actual staged theater.
For the record, 3D-smartphone displays aren’t exactly new. In 2011, LG released the Optimus 3D, which simply creates the illusion of depth and requires the user to look straight-on to see this effect. Projected holograms, in contrast, are much more complicated and usually require an elaborate setup of lasers and mirror to display a source object in its three-dimensional entirety, which can be observed from any viewing angle.
An industry veteran and the former chief executive of mobile chipmaker CommQuest, El-Ghoroury has spent the last eight years homing in on a way to shrink the entire process down to a circuit the size of a piece of chewing gum. He made his first breakthrough using a technique that allowed silicon to effectively bond with light-emitting diodes, which he compares to mixing oil with water.
“For many years, it was about stacking silicon wafers to improve performance,” he explained. “No one had really thought to do it to emit light for mobile devices, partially because solid-state materials (LED) don’t coalesce with it very well.”
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