‘Star Wars’ fans buzzing over new Samsung hologram patent

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Samsung hologram patent bodes well for Star Wars fans everywhere.

With “Star Wars IX” less than one year away (CAN’T WAIT), Samsung has reportedly developed a phone screen that can project high-quality 3D holographic images, much like those portrayed in popular sci-fi films and TV shows. The device would enable users to view 3D images from any angle, a significant improvement over existing technology. The news follows another exciting announcement from the company which described a future foldable phone that will double as a tablet.

Samsung has been investing in hologram technology for years alongside rival LG, although progress has largely remained under wraps until now. Call it technological advancement or an awakening of “the Force,” the new patent is creating buzz all across the galaxy.

How the Device Will Work

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More than 40 years after this iconic scene hit the big screen, Samsung’s device may be the breakthrough “Star Wars” (and “Trekkies,” but we won’t mention them too much here) fans have been waiting for. Published by the World Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the company’s patent describes the use of microlenses and a spatial light modulator that, together, project high-resolution 3D images in mid-air. The lens units sit on top of a flat surface and focus light beams that are projected from the device’s screen.

The technology would be included with a future Samsung phone that has the makings of the one-phone-to-rule-them-all. Although there is no indication on when the device will launch, this is the first time that the company has included details on how it would actually produce high-quality 3D holographic images, despite teasing the concept in the past.

Samsung Not the Only One Pursuing Next-Gen Holograms

Aside from Samsung, there have been other attempts at developing compact, high-quality holographic systems with varying degrees of success. In 2011, Nintendo released their 3DS gaming console, a handheld device which creates 3D effects for users, but only when viewed at a specific angle. Released several months ago, the RED Hydrogen One phone includes a 3D capability, although it can only be used with a limited set of holographic applications.

Those that have produced high-quality holograms have needed significant space or machinery to do so. In 2016, a team of Microsoft researchers revealed their concept of “holoportation,” which uses 3D cameras strategically placed throughout a room to reconstruct life-sized 3D images within a given space. A group of BYU researchers has been able to produce small, yet vibrant floating images using lasers which steer glowing particles along 3D paths.

Samsung’s innovation could be a major step forward in high-quality, portable holographic messaging whenever it does launch. The fact that there are details around the specific design of the technology is promising to many. One thing, however, is certain — next generation memes are going to be awesome.