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Displays Hardware Science Technology

Nanoresonators Create Ultra-High-Res Displays 231

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-tell-crytek dept.
TuurlijkNiet writes with this excerpt from Linux for Devices: "Eat your heart out, 'Retina display.' A new technology unveiled yesterday will allow creating pixels eight times smaller than the ones on Apple's iPhone 4, eliminate the need for polarizer layers, and allow screens to make much more efficient use of available light, say University of Michigan researchers. ... The pixels in the nanoresonator displays are about ten times smaller than those on a typical computer screen, and about eight times smaller than the pixels on the iPhone 4, which are about 78 microns, according to Guo. Such pixel densities could make the technology useful in projection displays, as well as wearable, bendable or extremely compact displays, according to the researchers."
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Nanoresonators Create Ultra-High-Res Displays

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  • cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Friday August 27, 2010 @11:29AM (#33393944)
    Now that they can make pixels so small that they can only be singled out from distances closer than my eyes can focus, they can finally put some effort into making.. i got nothing, i don't see the point of this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      Now that they can make pixels so small that they can only be singled out from distances closer than my eyes can focus

      You answered your own question. Lay them down on transparent material, put that on a pair of glasses, and Bob's your uncle.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It'd need some way to determine how your eyes are focused though - whether you are intending to look at your hud or something distant. Hold up an object up to your eye about where your glasses would rest. Close the other eye that won't see the object. Look at the object, then look at the wall behind it. Edges should get fuzzy and details will get blurred. When you get into thin lines like a GUI Frame or Text Font, this kind of focus is crucial.

        The annoying thing is, once you've been taught to read, any time

        • Re:cool (Score:5, Funny)

          by nacturation (646836) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `noitarutcan'> on Friday August 27, 2010 @12:09PM (#33394538) Journal

          It'd need some way to determine how your eyes are focused though - whether you are intending to look at your hud or something distant. Hold up an object up to your eye about where your glasses would rest. Close the other eye that won't see the object. Look at the object, then look at the wall behind it.

          Now look back at the object. Sadly, it isn't your eye. But if it had a fine enough resolution it could be compatible with your eye. Look down, back up. Where are you? You're on Slashdot looking for the display your display could look like. What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it, it's the iPhone 5 with a display so fine you can't tell the difference. Look again. The iPhone display is now a projector. Anything is possible when your device is made from nanoresonators and not a retina display. I'm modded up.

          • by bziman (223162)

            I'm modded up.

            I don't have any mod points, so I just wanted to say thank you.

          • by thijsh (910751)
            Man, you're nano-resonating out of control there!
          • by Yvan256 (722131)

            Cool funny rewrite of the ad while still being on-topic. Bravo.

            Here's the original ad [youtube.com], in case someone has been living in a cave with no internet access for the last few months and has never seen it.

        • Except a well designed hud would be reflected and focus adjusted for a relaxed eye (i.e. infinite distance) instead of trying to focus for 3 inches away. Still distracting but not the eye strain from going from focusing close to far to close you're describing.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Now that they can make pixels so small that they can only be singled out from distances closer than my eyes can focus

        You answered your own question. Lay them down on transparent material, put that on a pair of glasses, and Bob's your uncle.

        Ah, brilliant! Because when you wear the glasses, it'll project an image of your uncle over your friend Bob any time you're looking at him, AND it'll be at a high enough resolution that you can look really close at him and still not make out the pixels?

        Man, this is going to be GREAT for people who can't stand their friend Bob but who have really cool uncles!

      • Actually, Fanny's my aunt.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by leromarinvit (1462031)

      Now that they can make pixels so small that they can only be singled out from distances closer than my eyes can focus, they can finally put some effort into making.. i got nothing, i don't see the point of this.

      How about sharp and non-jagged fonts? It removes the need for anti-aliasing, since your vision acts as the low-pass filter now.

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        Yeah, that whole antialiasing thing never really caught on did it?

        • by Surt (22457)

          I think the whole point is that it did catch on, like a lot of other sucky engineering workarounds. And now we might have a chance to kill it at last.

        • While better than nothing, it's a poor substitute for the real thing.

        • by MORB (793798)

          The grand parent does have a point. Since I bought a nexus one (which have a pixel density almost as high as the iphone 4), I'm yearning for the day where computer monitors reach the same pixel density. You have no idea how good it makes text look until you see it. My 21" 16:9 monitor feels ugly and pixelated now in comparison.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      Now that they can make pixels so small that they can only be singled out from distances closer than my eyes can focus, they can finally put some effort into making.. i got nothing, i don't see the point of this.

      Well, for a display on its own, it's not terribly useful. After all, increase the pixel density beyond the iPhone 4 and you'll be adding useless pixels that take memory (framebuffer), power (all those pixels require controllers behind them, plus your 2D and 3D accellerators have to push that many mor

      • Magnify where? (Score:3, Informative)

        by fyngyrz (762201)

        Might be interesting in combination with other technology, though... your idea of a projector incorporates magnification. What if the magnification was in your eye? Imagine a biomod that gives you up to 8x optical magnification; switch it in, and you'd be looking at the details on the display, if you wanted to -- they'd be there all the time.

        Another thing is stereo output (mistakenly characterized as "3d" by today's marketing droids.) With pixels this tiny, it might be a lot easier to have a set for each

        • by Yvan256 (722131)

          What I'd like is projectors so small and yet so powerful that I could project what I'm seeing in front of me so that other people around me could also see what I'm seeing.

      • increase the pixel density beyond the iPhone 4 and you'll be adding useless pixels...

        Unless perhaps you're interlacing. I guess it depends on what kind of framerates you can get.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by azmodean+1 (1328653)

        Well, for a display on its own, it's not terribly useful. After all, increase the pixel density beyond the iPhone 4 and you'll be adding useless pixels that take memory (framebuffer), power (all those pixels require controllers behind them, plus your 2D and 3D accellerators have to push that many more pixels) and size (enlarged bitmaps and the like take more space).

        What part of "iPhone 4 has resolution that matches the resolution of the human eye when held at arm's length" did you miss? I'm guessing the part in bold. I for one would absolutely love to have a pair of glasses that met or exceeded the resolution my eyes could perceive. And frankly, even if the display is "wasting pixels" in a given scenario, the obvious solution is to cut back on processing somehow, perhaps by lowering the resolution of image rendering to what is needed instead of the native resolutio

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sznupi (719324)

      Contact lenses with integrated display. I'm overdue with augmenting myself already...

      • by RevWaldo (1186281)
        Beyond Bluetooth - taking lookin' crazy in public to a whole other level!

        - Give this lady some room! She's having a seizure!
        - Huh, what? Who me? No, no, 'scool. I'm just watching the US Open...Yes! You go Serena!

        .
        • by sznupi (719324)

          Not much crazier than ordinary contact lenses, I'd guess. And as for crazy reactions...you don't need corneal display for that.

      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Contact lenses with integrated display. I'm overdue with augmenting myself already...

        Inter ocular lenses with wifi capabilities would be even more efficient.

        • by Korin43 (881732)

          Inter ocular lenses with wifi capabilities would be even more efficient.

          Until you have to change the battery in your eye..

          • by tholomyes (610627)
            Yeah, ever since I read the story I wondered how this guy [boingboing.net] replaces the battery in his wireless bionic eye.
            • since it's a replacement for a run of the mill glass eye I imagine he just pops it out and puts in a new one?
        • by sznupi (719324)

          How basically the same thing but with helluva harder procedure of replacement would be more efficient?

    • Right now the virtual displays that you wear as eyeglasses simulate a screen in front of the wearer, but they are limited in resolution to something like 1024x768. It would be awesome to have lightweight, high-resolution, wearable displays that would allow interaction with the visible environment just by turning your head. Lots of gaming/simulation possibilities. Steve
      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        Right now the virtual displays that you wear as eyeglasses simulate a screen in front of the wearer, but they are limited in resolution to something like 1024x768.

        It would be awesome to have lightweight, high-resolution, wearable displays that would allow interaction with the visible environment just by turning your head. Lots of gaming/simulation possibilities.

        Steve

        Possibilities like not needing to waste desk space with a monitor? Technically one person can't (with normal vision) look at more than one display at a time; yet having 2,3, even 4 on a desk is becoming increasingly popular. A pair of display glasses with accurate motion sensors could give you a display of unlimited size. Plus! Now my desk will have room for that Zen garden...

        • ok, you win, thats the most awesome idea so far. A totally virtual display of infinite possible dimension would be fantastic. Only problem is that you need more than one headset available if you need to show people something. (that or a normal monitor that reflects where you are looking)
          • by SQLGuru (980662)

            That's what the pico-pico projector in the glasses is for. When you want to share, you turn on the projector and it will show what you are seeing in the direction you are looking. And it can even be "magic" enough to turn off the glasses level display when the projector is on....that's how you could continue to use the glasses when there was no backlight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Defenestrar (1773808)
      Every layer of polarization cuts the available light in half. Creating a display with pixels smaller than the unaided eye can view without these is actually huge because the current limit in preventing a "realistic" display (i.e. you can't tell the difference between the display and looking out a window) is actually in the contrast resolution (difference between light and dark) which still has a very long way to go before it hits human eye capacity. Freeing up more light allows for brighter whites and per
    • Re:cool (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DurendalMac (736637) on Friday August 27, 2010 @12:43PM (#33395028)
      I'm no expert on this, but what if they could be used to make LCDs that don't look like ass at non-native resolutions? If one pixel at 1920x1080 is actually a bunch of these tiny pixels acting as one (at least as far as the OS is concerned), then it would be far easier to "enlarge" that collection of pixels to act as a single pixel at 1280x720 by simply enlarging it by the proper number of subpixels. Seems feasible to me, but maybe someone with more experience in that area can chime in.
    • by beelsebob (529313)

      Now that they can make pixels so small that they can only be singled out from distances closer than my eyes can focus, they can finally put some effort into making...

      Super high resolution screens that look as good as print media even under extremely close inspection?
      Games that don't need anti-aliassing because you can't see the jaggies anyway?
      User interfaces that can scale gracefully without doing an ugly cludge in changing the display resolution and making everything blurry?

    • by Antity-H (535635)

      Does it mean we can get cheap high resolution (better than 96dpi) screens for our computers within a forseeable future ? if so I am all for it !

    • Here's a great reason to keep going smaller: once you get down to the 10k or so pixels per inch level, you've got the main ingredient for a holographic computer display. As in the pixels are dense enough that you can display the holographic fringes necessary to show a true 3 dimensional image without any glasses/lenticular lenses, or any of the other tricks used today.
    • Where the resolution gets divided by the number of views displayed simultaneously. If you could make display with 1000 dpi resolution, you could turn it into an autostereoscopic display with horizontal parallax displaying 10 images at 100 dpi. I imagine a 10000 dpi screen would let you create something indistinguishable from a hologram with no glasses required to view it...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autostereoscopy [wikipedia.org]

      http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1320857 [acm.org]

    • by mestar (121800)

      The pixels wouldn't be too small. Take a long black line on a complete white background, one pixel wide. Is this line simply invisible to the human eye on those sub-eye resolutions? I don't think so.

      So, bring on those uber-resolutions. Perhaps the pictures will simply look more beautiful, even if they shouldn't. Anyway, I would like to see those monitors anyway.

    • Instead of computers having bugs, bugs can FINALLY have computers!!!
  • Bendable displays (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday August 27, 2010 @11:29AM (#33393956) Homepage

    The implications of a bendable display are huge, but I think something people don't address enough is durability. I don't mean "this display can be rolled up in a pringles can and still function!", I mean from a puncture and general jostling around perspective. People expect these displays to be paper thin...but what kind of material are these displays being sandwiched in between to ensure that they stay safe?

    • same stuff they layer onto your car's windshield to make it safety glass. watch the myth-busters episode about tornados throwing 2/4's. some of the laminates (which are flexible plastics) can withstand the force of a 2x4 traveling insane speeds and not rip/break. a simple layer of this on both sides would make the display nigh-indestructible for most users.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Such expectations are probably because of how those bendable displays were always showed off - as something rollable & paper thin. Yeah, not striking me as practical.

      But I suspect their properties will matter most to manufacturers - it will become easy to cover non-flat surfaces with displays and/or to cover most surface area of some device. Oh, with a solid protective cover on top.

    • by cynyr (703126)

      are any of these fordable, like fold up and stick in my back pocket and sit on sort of foldable?

    • The largest issue with bendable displays and a difraction grating is color shifts with viewing angle. Anyone besides me work with diffraction gratings and thin film Dichroic filters?

      The color is very vibrant and accurate, providing the viewing angle is controlled. This works with a projector because the angle between the light source and lens is fixed. This does not work for a direct view computer screen. The problems compound with a bendable direct view display.

  • IPhone Nano ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zorlon (181163)

    Looking forward to teeny tiny iPhones

    • In reality for iPhone displays the "Retina Display" is really as good as you are ever going to need, just like we never gotten anything more then 32bit color depth (With is still only 24bit color depth with extra command colors) . This technology isn't really good for improving the mobile devices with screens, but for projectors, which can project say a 1080p display and fit in your cellphone. Keeping the "Retina Display" is actually a really good idea as the new phones can get much faster without have to

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Sort of like the eyePhone [wikipedia.org]?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday August 27, 2010 @11:32AM (#33393994) Homepage

    I am guessing this is "small enough" yes? Also, I want a netbook with a resolution higher than 1366x768 as well.

    • I am guessing this is "small enough" yes?

      At least read the summary. If you want a high resolution display from a compact projector small pixel sizes are a must. Imagine as an example trying to squeeze a projector into a mobile phone.

  • I have a feeling we won't be seeing this in consumer products any time soon.

    • not necessarily. sometimes new products can come with significant manufacturing cost reductions, not often, but sometimes.
  • Could be good... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Friday August 27, 2010 @11:37AM (#33394092)

    ...if it means that we'll start getting computer monitors with higher resolutions again instead of repurposed HDTV screens.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      The fact that we weren't getting repurposed HDTV screens back when 1920x1080 was new hotness was a scam. It was a collusion between LCD manufacturers to keep prices high for both computer monitors (which were available at 1050-pixel vertical resolution for no good reason) and TV screens.

      Now you get higher resolution by either adding a second monitor or getting a humungous monitor. Higher resolution on the size of monitor you have now may not do you any good, unless you want 3D without the goggles [arstechnica.com] in which

    • by cynyr (703126) on Friday August 27, 2010 @12:39PM (#33394962)

      how about just 17" 4k2k monitors... or even a 17" 1080p...

  • How does one read the phrase "8 times smaller "? Initially I want to take it as 1/8th the size, but "8 times" would indicate multiplication is involed...
    • Multiply by 1/8, maybe? I agree though -- it does seem a bass ackwards way of comparing sizes.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Not necessarily, Would a 16x CDROM be 8 times faster than a 2x CDROM or an 8x CDROM drive? Which is one of the reasons why that was always kind of a stupid way of naming things. Because technically it is 8x faster, because 1x is a defined unit.
      • That's what makes this OK.

        A 1x CD-ROM is defined as a certain transfer rate. 2x is twice that base rate. 8x is 8 times that base rate.

        "Pixel" is not a defined unit of measure. Pixels can be large, as in your old 40" standard def CRT television, or small, as in the iPhone "retina display". I can think of several ways "8 times smaller" could be defined. The one that seems to make the most sense, to me, is the one that has nothing to do with multiplication.
    • Just like the phrase "throw the baby out with the bathwater" would indicate that the situation involves babies, baths, and infanticide. Yes, the meaning of X times smaller isn't totally clear, that's because it's an idiom. It's been in use since before your great-great-grandparents were born and it's just one of those things that you have to define in terms of the whole phrase rather than the individual words that make it up.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Wow, I never thought of that phrase as ambiguous in the least. "8 times smaller/slower" always means divide by 8 and "8 times larger/faster" always means multiply by 8. I wouldn't use it in a scientific paper, but it should be okay in informal usage.

      • Ok. If this is some sort of standard that I missed out on, I'll accept that. I do think it's stupid though. We already have a phrase for that definition: "an 8th the size".
    • by blair1q (305137)

      Yes, that's what it means.

      I never know why people don't get what it means.

      It may be mathematically ungrammatical, but it's perfectly clear what it means.

      Except for the part where they don't say whether it's by lineal or areal dimensions.

    • I wish I was so smart that I couldn't make sense of that phrase.

  • by Guppy (12314) on Friday August 27, 2010 @11:48AM (#33394240)

    Such pixel densities could make the technology useful in projection displays, as well as wearable, bendable or extremely compact displays, according to the researchers.

    I'd be interested in seeing this technology in head-mounted wearable displays, and would like to propose that we term such devices "scouters". I believe they'll become practical once the achievable dpi is over nine-thousand.

  • Yes, so it's higher than the eye can see, but that does not mean it's useless...

    For one thing it may lead to advances in 3D displays without using 3D glasses. For this application it may be useful to be double the resolution, or even higher.

    • Auto-stereo displays project four or more angle views through a prismatic screen lens. This is how the 3D novelty pictures work. On conventional TVs, the horizontal resolution is decreased from 1200 pixels to 400 this way, appear coarse. Super-resolution could be helpful then.
  • Why would the 'Retina Display' eat its heart out over a research project that is probably years away from development.

    Is there really a need for this on slashdot? Tell us about the new tech...leave the rest out.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Maybe TuurlijkNiet hates Apple.

    • It certainly reads like the poster has an ax to grind against the retina display. for all we know, this will be the tech that drives the iphone6's display.
    • Apple can start eating once a competitor puts this on the market. But by then, Apple will already have done so as well. Stupid summary.

  • As nearly as I can tell from the (garbled as usual) article this is about a combination filter and polarizer, not a new type of display. The pixels would still be liquid crystal and I see nothing here that would make them smaller: just more efficient.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      LCDs work by polarizing light emitted by a lamp behind them (or light reflected from the front that is reflected by mirrored surface behind them).

      You make pixels by making small regions that you can control electrically. But with LCD there's a limit to how small you can make them because of the crystals involved. And to do colors you make a color mask and have each color covered by one region, and open or close them in combination to make one RGB pixel.

      These researchers have found a new polarization metho

      • These researchers have found a new polarization method that also does color filtering...

        That what I said. But that's all it does: there is no electrical control. You still need LCD pixels for that.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          Hmm. Somehow I got that they were doing that in their film, but it appears all they've done is make the film polarizing and omitted one of the LCD layers.

          Which means that M isn't an active display, it's a canned demo set into the film.

          Oh well. Maybe next week.

    • by Panaflex (13191)

      It's a 2D array of MEMS which open and close a slit in a variable size, creating a light grate which has the effect of changing the light color.

      • by bperkins (12056)

        > It's a 2D array of MEMS which open and close a slit in a variable size

        No.

        The resonator is what cause the interference that controls the colors rendered. If you look at the article you'll see there's no mention of controlling the pitch after it's fabricated.

      • by Panaflex (13191)

        Apparently I'm wrong (yeah, bad bad article!) It's just a new color filter + polarizer. There is no way in the design to modify the color, as it's only a structural grating.

        I guess in the future a design could be created if they had a way modify these structures - this isn't it. But it's promising.

        • The article actually said how they’d create color: red, green, and blue sub-pixels, just like LCDs currently use.

          Red, green and blue pixel components could be made in one step by cutting arrays of slits in the stack, according to the researchers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to see here, move along!

  • There is no display, people. This is a research result. How many years and how many major hurdles remain until this can actually be sold to a consumer?
  • The pixels in the nanoresonator displays are about ten times smaller than those on a typical computer screen, and about eight times smaller than the pixels on the iPhone 4, which are about 78 microns, according to Guo.

    Well, Guo is right, I just checked that 326ppi meant pixels of 78um* (and please don't use micron, its usage has been obsoleted more than 40 years ago).

    However having horizontal and vertical resolution both multiplied by eight means that pixels are 64 times smaller than those on an iPhone 4.

    And "typical computer screens" still usually have a resolution in the 100ppi range. With 10um* pixels, these nanoresonators have 2540ppi, so that's 25 times better, not 10. That also means pixels 645 times smaller.

    FYI, w

  • 1) is the display bistable?

    2) is a backlight required for this display to be useful?

  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:00PM (#33396070)
    multiple resolutions? I mean Suppose you had a screen that had a huge resolution. (IE in the millions.) Then if you wanted to do say some standard resolutions like 1280X1024 or 800X600 you could just pick some nice multiple of either of those figures and used most of the screen. (You might have to leave a few lines of pixels off the bottom and right if the screen wasn't an even multiple but if the pixels where extremely small this wouldn't be a problem.) Wouldn't that make the math very quick and easy? (IE if all you had to do is convert your square pixel an resolution X to say a 5X5 square made out of smaller pixels.)
  • For those of you that have a problem with "8x smaller" quip...

    If something is 4 times bigger than something else, it follows that the smaller thing is 4 times smaller than the bigger thing, right? Is my lack of math skills confounding my English comprehension here?

    • No, that’s exactly correct.

      The reason nerds are so confused by it is that everyone knows that if something is 100% bigger than something else, it follows that the smaller thing is 50% smaller than the bigger thing.

  • 300 DPI Displays (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:37PM (#33398238) Homepage
    How about we get some freakin affordable high DPI 20+ inch displays to work on? Display dpi has been stuck at 100 or less for...decades? And now that the IT industry things that pc users really just want 1080p for video we go backwards.

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