Microsoft’s “holographic display” patents are pretty interesting

Since hearing that Microsoft may include a “holographic display” in the rumoured Surface Phone quite a bit of information has bubbled up regarding a potential candidate for the display.

The lead candidate appears to be a “Floating Display” which Microsoft has been working on for at least 10 years, and still appears to be actively developing, going by the filing of patents as recently as November last year.

The technology is very interesting and relies on micro-lenses on the surface of a display, which allows a number of scenarios, including projecting a floating image which appears separated from the surface.

Another application is using the lenses in reverse, to form an image of the object above the surface, removing the need for separate sensors to capture gestures for example.

Microsoft demonstrated both uses of the technology in a crude form using light guides and rear projectors but of course, the state of the art has moved on since then.

YouTube player

The work appears to be driven by Karlton Powell, a Senior Optical Engineer at Microsoft, who holds a number of patents in the area.

Karlton joined the Applied Sciences Group coming from Microsoft Surface. Prior to joining Surface, he was a research engineer at Microvision, Inc., working on various scanned-beam laser displays, such as HMDs (helmet-mounted displays), HUDs (head-up displays), and pocket-sized laser projectors, primarily focused in the areas of beam propagation, diffractive optics and micro-optics, interference, speckle, and photonics.

It remains to be seen if any of this technology will ever hit the market, but if they do all arrive in one single device it certainly has the potential to be the game changer Satya Nadella has been hinting at.

Via WalkingCat, Thanks Igiomar for the tip.