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Apr092014

Display Technology News Roundup 4.9.2014

Image via Spike Aerospace

Will digital signage replace plane windows? "Spike Aerospace, a Boston engineering firm that’s developing a small supersonic jet, recently caused a stir when it announced its plane wouldn’t have any windows in the passenger cabin. Instead, thin screens installed on the walls of the aircraft would display live views captured by cameras mounted outside. ...The cockpit, of course, will still have a real-life view, but Kachoria predicted windowless cabins would be the norm within 20 years on small planes like the one his company is working on." via NBC News

How will flexible electronics revolutionize user interface displays and everything else? "With RFID, you have to embed electronics into your travel card or keyfob or whatever – with Touchcode, from T+Ink, you just use conductive ink, which is cheaper, thinner and more flexible, to transmit information to the reader. The best thing about this system is that the reader can be found in any modern mobile device: the screen. Capacitive touchscreens usually work because of the conductivity in your finger; here, they just read the conductive pattern of the ink on the smart card, smart packaging or what have you. In this example, holding the promotional “Cars 2″ card over the suitable app brings up an image of the relevant car. It’s a darn sight easier to use – and more pleasing to the eye – than a QR code that needs to be held in front of the phone’s camera." via Gigaom

Are OLED displays dimmer than LCD? "According to DisplayMate, Samsung’s Super AMOLED Galaxy S5 is the brightest display they’ve ever tested, defeating the traditional notion that OLED screens are dimmer than their LCD counterparts. ...Samsung kept using the diamond-shaped subpixel that leads to higher efficiency without the graininess that came from PenTile arrays. The larger blue and red subpixels are diamond-shaped, while the green subpixels are oval, making it easier to squeeze in between the others while maintaining the highest quality possible…" via IntoMobile

Calgary-developed tactile touchscreens: Stevie Wonder tested, CNIB approved "Doug Hagedorn is the founder and CEO of Tactalis (formerly known as Invici), a Calgary startup he launched in 2012 and now includes a half-dozen people on the team. Their technology uses an array of magnets embedded beneath an LCD screen that can be activated and deactivated, corresponding with images on the display. Using a metal stylus or a ring on the tip of the finger, users can then “feel” the images in a dynamic way." via Metro News

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Is Facebook's purchase of heads-up display company Oculus a good or bad thing? "No one seems to have seen the acquisition coming, least of all Oculus itself, which apparently thrashed it out in a matter of days after Zuckerberg decided to take it on. ...But the Rift needed this kind of cash injection to get to the point where its technology would be commercially viable. ...One of the biggest problems is latency between the movement of the headset, and the updated image. 50ms is the maximum, beyond which motion sickness can set in – and advocates suggest that sub-20ms is optimal. Another problem is motion tracking. Unless motion is tracked perfectly, the user's experience of where they are can differ slightly from the image displayed, leading to nausea." via E&T Magazine

Why is Samsung’s breakthrough in graphene research so promising for display technology? "Samsung calls the new method “wafer-scale growth of single-crystal monolayer graphene on reusable hydrogen-terminated germanium.” Traditionally, graphene has proven difficult, and therefore expensive, to produce. This has been due almost exclusively to the fact that producing graphene, especially in larger contiguous sheets, required a destructive process to transfer the material from its production environment over to the components it is being used to help build. ...Previous methods required a liquid based transfer of the graphene, but now, the germanium substrate layer that graphene is produced on top of can be re-used for continual growth of graphene, instead of being destroyed in the transfer process." via Android Authority

Why is Apple in talks to buy Japan display chip-maker Renesas "Renesas SP Driver, the largest maker of chips used to control mobile device screens, supplies all three of the companies that make displays for the iPhone, industry sources say: Sharp, Japan Display Inc and South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd. "There's no doubt that, for Apple, the question of who buys Renesas SP is a matter of grave significance," said one Japanese display industry source, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter. Control over the supply chain has become increasingly crucial among smartphone makers. While up to now Apple has relied on outside suppliers for many key parts, Samsung makes vital parts for its Galaxy smartphones, from screens to chips to capacitors, in-house. That gives it greater control over costs, production schedules and specifications, as well as product information." via Reuters

How to stretch a display and maintain pixel resolution "We dream of a single device with a size-variable screen display that can function as a phone, a pad, and a tablet as required. We want a small screen device for voice communications but a large screen when reading text or watching movies on the same device. Several engineering prototypes of so-called rollable or foldable, sometimes multi-axis foldable, screen displays have been demonstrated. The size of the viewing area—thus the device planar area as well—is small when the displays are stored in a rolled or folded form, but can be enlarged when unrolled or unfolded. However, such devices are generally bulky due to the form factor of the rolled or folded screen displays. We considered how to change the size of the screen display and its form factor." via SPIE

Disney Research Pixelbots Tell the Story of the Universe "Three years ago at ICRA in Shanghai, Disney Research presented a prototype for an artistic robot swarm. The swarm was made up of lots of little wheeled robots with LEDs, each of which acted as an individual mobile pixel in a dynamic image made entirely of robots. Disney and ETH Zurich have been refining this idea, developing both software and hardware and adding more robots to the mix. At the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction earlier this month, the latest version of this Display Swarm, now called Pixelbots, reenacted the story of the Universe (video)." via IEEE Spectrum

How Can Stereoscopic Displays Address the Accommodation-Convergence Problem? "The technology discussed by Dr. Bos was a means to use active liquid crystal based eyeglass lenses to address the well-known accommodation-convergence problem found in many stereoscopic display systems. The proposed means to fix the focus problem is, in principle, quite simple: use a camera to determine the “toe-in” of the user’s pupils. Based on this information, determine the distance from the viewer to the virtual object. Add to this the measured distance between the viewer and the display screen and it is possible to determine the power of a lens that can focus the user’s eyes at the proper object distance." via Display Central

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New Apple tech could revolutionize touchscreens "FTIR [frustrated total internal reflection] uses infrared lights to bounce light off the back of a touchscreen. If there is no interference, or frustration, then the infrared light will completely reflect off the surface of the touchscreen, similar to how the surface of a pool can act as a mirror when viewed at high enough angles. If there is interference from a finger on the touchscreen, then sensors will pick it up in order to determine where the touch input hit the display." via BGR

Atmel, Corning Work On Super Thin Capacitive Touchscreens "This particular collaboration would merge Atmel XSense flexible touch sensors with 0.4mm damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, where the two of them work hand-in-hand to deliver outstanding capacitive touch performance despite having a thinner flat or curved cover glass. It is because of the unique circuit design of XSense that paves the way for design engineers to draw up ever narrower device borders, so that the user would be able to enjoy a more optimal viewing area. " via Ubergizmo

How touchscreens could recognize user 'signatures' "Cybersecurity researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have gone a step further. They’ve developed a new security system that continuously monitors how a user taps and swipes a mobile device. If the movements don’t match the owner’s tendencies, the system recognizes the differences and can be programmed to lock the device. The new system is called LatentGesture and was used during a Georgia Tech lab study using Android devices. The system was nearly 98 percent accurate on a smartphone and 97 percent correct on tablets." via Laboratory Equipment

How can open source touchscreens be useful to engineers? "I bought an Arduino Mega and started putting together the custom electronics in the form of a daughter board (Arduino calls them "shields"). However, it needed to be a standalone unit, so what could I do for user interfacing to the Mega that was flexible? Touch screens. Adafruit, a hobbyist site like Sparkfun, offered a 2.8" TFT Touch Shield for Arduino for $59—a second-generation version is now available for $39.95. The libraries are quite easy to use and it gave me the flexibility I needed to make an early prototype of the full system and then refine the safeties once we had some actual test experience with the final hardware." via EDN

What Are Augmented Reality Displays: Their Past and Potential "Computer graphics pioneer Ivan Sutherland established the basic concepts of AR as known today in his seminal 1968 paper “A Head-Mounted Three Dimensional Display”. Sutherland wrote, “The fundamental idea is to present the user with a perspective image which changes as he moves. The displayed material can be made either to hang disembodied in space or to coincide with maps, desktops, walls, or the keys of a typewriter.” Sutherland’s visionary impact is clear when you realize that his work occurred at a time when computer graphics was in its infancy and displays could only render very low-resolution lines. ...On Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Santa Clara, California, the Embedded Vision Alliance will hold its fourth Embedded Vision Summit. Embedded Vision Summits are technical educational forums for engineers interested in incorporating visual intelligence into electronic systems and software." via Electronic Engineering Journal

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What is haptic capability for tablets? "The news comes from the recent Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona where Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. (Kanagawa, Japan) demonstrated a prototype tablet with haptic capabilities. ...The introduction of an ultrasonic vibration on the tablet surface creates a high pressure layer of air between the tablet’s surface and the user’s fingertip. This has the effect of reducing friction and creating a floating effect. Utilization of this phenomenon makes it possible to create a slippery sensation on the tablet surface. Up till now, this particular sensation has been difficult to achieve using other techniques." via Display Central

How does a touchscreen display provide blood testing? "But soon, thanks to startup Qloudlab, based in the microengineering lab in Switzerland's EPFL tech university, these patients may be able to use the touch screens on their phones or other devices to test their blood coagulation, all in the comfort of their own homes -- or wherever. ...Using the sensors that can determine where it is being touched (i.e. where the screen's electric field is being disrupted), the screen can detect with incredible precision when and where the blood is moving through those tiny channels across the small surface area where the sticker touches the screen." via CNET

How will digital signage change the dining experience: Pizza Hut introduces digital signage touchscreen menu table "As shown off in its promotional video, the Pizza Hut touch-screen-enabled table concept would allow anyone with an iPhone to sit down and have their identity recognized. That would potentially mean that payment methods, favorite items from the menu and other details could be instantly relayed to the restaurant, as well as any allergies that would mean certain foods wouldn’t be suitable. ...Without a doubt this concept bears a resemblance to Microsoft’s own Surface table, something which never really took off properly, until Microsoft shrunk it down a few feet and turned it into a tablet. (video)" via Redmond Pie

What is digital signage and how can you implement it? "Digital signage is the use of screens in stores to deliver marketing messages and improved shopping experiences to customers. ...Most businesses have small or limited budgets, so it’s advisable to test out options before you invest. A phased approach is a good way to begin experimenting with digital signage. Digital signage and augmented reality can be defined in simple terms as the enhancement of reality. This is often through the digital presentation of information and it can be used on kiosks. It effectively defines the link between 3D and real images and it uses advanced digital imaging techniques." via Internet Marketing Advice

What is Kinoma Create? "Kinoma Create is the JavaScript-powered construction kit for makers, professional product designers, and web developers with no prior hardware experience. With Kinoma Create, you can create personal projects, consumer electronics, and Internet of Things prototypes more quickly and easily than ever before. ...Inside Kinoma Create is a power efficient ARM CPU, Wi‑Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a capacitive color touch screen, and tons of I/O for sensors — all nicely integrated, all ready to go right out of the box." via indiegogo

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