New Chip to Bring Holograms to Smartphones

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In the future, virtual reality won’t require strapping a bulky contraption to your head.

Instead, imagine stepping into an empty room and then suddenly seeing life-size, 3-D images of people and furniture. Or looking down at a smartwatch and seeing virtual objects float and bounce above the wrist, like the holographic Princess Leia beamed by R2-D2 in the movie “Star Wars.”

A key to this future may lay in Carlsbad, Calif., where startup Ostendo Technologies Inc. has spent the past nine years quietly working on miniature projectors designed to emit crisp videos and glasses-free 3-D images for smartphones and giant screens.

Ostendo’s projectors, are roughly the size of Tic Tacs, powered by a computer chip that can control the color, brightness and angle of each beam of light across one million pixels.

One chipset, small enough to fit into a smartphone, is capable of projecting video on a surface with a 48-inch diagonal.

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