RED reveals what the Hydrogen's "holographic display" is all about


RED Digital Cinema, possibly the most well-known cinema camera maker, made a weird announcement two months ago: apparently, it had been working on its own take on the smartphone, called the RED Hydrogen, complete with a modular design and a so-called "holographic display." And even though the closest thing we had to a look at the device at that point was a render of its back, the company started taking pre-orders immediately after its announcement.

So you would be excused for thinking this brand-new screen tech is just a dumb marketing gimmick — or even an outright scam — as it certainly looked like it from the surface. However, RED has now announced a "strategic partnership" with a display company named Leia Inc. And while we have yet to see the display in action (boo!), this does shed some light on how the end product will work.

On a technical level, the technology uses a regular LCD panel with a special "light guide plate" placed below it, which uses diffraction to project different images at different viewing angles — resulting in the illusion of a 3D image. The end result is said not to have significant impact on image quality or battery life, though these claims are in desperate need of being backed up by real-life data.

The video embedded at the top of the article is an old concept from Leia showing how the tech might look like in action. And while it does take some liberties with the way light works (the image will not bleed outside of the screen borders like it does in the video), it does show how a "holographic display" like this will work.


YouTuber MKBHD also did a hands-on with a prototype in action, and reported that the technology is impressive, though not without its problems. But unfortunately we don't get to see the display itself in action, and RED is yet to provide a clear timetable on when it will publicly show off the tech in action.

However, we do now have a slightly more specific release timeframe: the first half of 2018. But as already mentioned, RED is already taking pre-orders for the Hydrogen: an aluminum version will set potential customers back $1,195, while a titanium one will cost a more hefty $1,595.

source: RED, Leia via The Verge

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8 Comments

1. Myphoneisonfire

Posts: 403; Member since: Sep 05, 2016

Don't worry , it wont be an "innovation" until the fruit man announces it in the iPhone 12

8. CHP19

Posts: 50; Member since: Jun 23, 2017

Probably with the same excuse as always, 'if it didn't sell millions of units it doesn't count'. That's usually the fanboy's defense, which is of course absolutely ridiculous.

2. iampun33t

Posts: 135; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

Yeah, in 2021 the Fruit Company will come out with a vowelPhone with a Holographic display and the whole world will watch the presentation, with tears in their eyes, looking at the "new invention" from the Fruit Company.

3. zr2s10

Posts: 45; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

Considering how expensive iPhones are supposed to get, this isn't that bad.

7. JC557

Posts: 1918; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

especially considering they plan on outfitting it with top notch camera sensors and lenses both on the phone and through external mod attachment.

4. alexvoda

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

"LCD panel with a special "light guide plate" placed below it, which uses diffraction to project different images at different viewing angles — resulting in the illusion of a 3D image" So like the Nintendo 3DS and the LG Optimus 3D?

5. CHP19

Posts: 50; Member since: Jun 23, 2017

There are differences. It is claimed that this will work even if you are not looking directly straight at it, which is definitely necessary with the 3DS and Optimus. It's also a clear plate behind it. It should also be interactive (as in you can manipulate it with your fingers without touching the display. So it seems like a pretty substantial evolution of the tech in the 3DS and Optimus.

6. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

That camera setup and the connector strip design... is this thing built on a modified Moto frame?

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