Researchers at Hewlett Packards laboratories in California have demonstrated a prototype of a 3D display that needs no glasses and is small enough to be incorporated in a moble phone
The research team have published their results in the journal Nature here (subscription required to read whole article)
The display produces images that appear in 3D even when viewed from different angles, in theory up to 180 degrees.
The display is based around a transparent screen with LED's around the edges. Light rays from the LED's are modified by pixels that steer the light out of the screen in different directions.
Their current prototype can project in 14 different directions, which is too few to give a smooth 3D effect but they are working on a more sophisticated device that projects in 64 different directions.
"In principle you would be able to move your head around the display, rotate your head in any direction, and still see a 3D image, much like what you see in Star Wars, with the famous hologram of Princess Leia," said David Fattal, one of the authors of the paper.
"If you were to display a 3D image of planet Earth with the north pole facing out of the screen, by turning your head around the display you'd be able to have a view of any country on the globe,"
Click here for a video illustrating the effect.