Your next phone could have Star Wars Jedi powers

Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

Ever wanted to speak to a 3D holographic image of your friend -- just like they did in sci-fi films like "Star Wars"?

Well the fantasy could be a reality soon as one company has designed technology to do just that.

Silicon Valley start-up Leia -- aptly named after the "Star Wars" princess -- at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona showed off a piece of kit that can turn a normal LCD smartphone screen into a 3D holographic display, without the need of special glasses.

"I think what's beautiful about this technology is that it can project an image that you can see with your eye as if you were seeing the real world," Sonny Vo, director of nanofabrication at Leia, told CNBC.

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While the initial technology does not project the holographic image outwards, it does show an accurate 3D image on screen. The important part of the technology is the Leia's backlighting panel which manipulates light in a certain way to render a 3D image on a screen.

The image on Leia's display can be viewed from 64 angles, because the 3D image is created by taking 64 pictures of what is being represented and essentially mashing them together to create the 3D form.

Vo said the hardware is small enough to fit in smartwatches, smartphones and tablets and said Leia was in talks with device makers on integrating the product.

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As well as viewing the images, users will soon be able to move the image on the screen by just hovering their finger over screen. This development is in its early stages but Vo envisions that designers could use this to manipulate images, or doctors could use it to navigate around an MRI scan for example.

The technology was actually developed while the founders were working at Hewlett Packard. They took the patents and started Leia in 2013.

Applications that work with Leia's hologram technology is going to be the key to its success and in the fourth quarter of this year, Vo said the company would open up its platform for app developers.

But for now, simple video calling will just have to do.