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Displays Graphics United Kingdom Upgrades Technology

Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best 129

Posted by timothy
from the enhance-enhance-enhance dept.
Zothecula (1870348) writes "The Retina displays featured on Apple's iPhone 4 and 5 models pack a pixel density of 326 ppi, with individual pixels measuring 78 micrometers. That might seem plenty good enough given the average human eye is unable to differentiate between the individual pixels, but scientists in the UK have now developed technology that could lead to extremely high-resolution displays that put such pixel densities to shame."
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Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

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  • This should be very interesting for making tiny projectors.

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      You'd think, but microprojectors/picoprojectors haven't really advanced over the past five years.

      • by synaptic (4599)

        This might allow for very high-resolution interference fringes for holographic displays.

      • by sdack (601542)

        I am saying that the new technology will lead to advancements. Hence it is interesting for making (future) projectors.

        • by kamapuaa (555446)

          The idea is, commercial affordable pixel densities have gotten higher and higher over the past few years, but tiny projectors haven't really improved. Why should further advancements in pixel densities start helping now? Perhaps it's something else holding them back.

          • by sdack (601542)

            "Why should further advancements in pixel densities start helping now?"

            Because every bit helps.

  • At this point, we're making consumer grade hardware strain to drive 4K monitors. Pixel density doesn't matter if the device can't easily run at that resolution.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      This. When I was shopping for a tablet last Christmas, there were a lot of reviews saying that the 2048x1536, tablets were slower than their predecessors at many tasks even though the processor was faster, because it took so much computation just to run the screen. For a 10 inch tablet, 1080p seems to be good enough. And trying to cram more pixels in there just for the sake of it, at the expense of battery life and framerates seems be a bad idea.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    But the LG G3 is already down to 47 micrometer. And it's mostly about battery life.

  • by Warren Owen (3744573) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @05:39AM (#47441787)
    At last we will be able to make VR Headsets for Eagles
  • Pixel master race.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @06:13AM (#47441857) Homepage

    Why do they mention that and fail to mention devices which present even higher density displays? My Nexus 5 has 445ppi display density.

    I find it annoying that despite the existence of common devices which are "better" that the "best" is still considered to be Apple's. Nothing like product endorsement which wasn't [likely] even paid for. At the very least, they should have included the trademark sign to indicate they were making a commercial reference in their endorsement. (They did, at least capitalize "retina" in retina display... that's not quite the same thing and kind of makes it worse.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I find it annoying that despite the existence of common devices which are "better" that the "best" is still considered to be Apple's.

      Congratulations, you have just lived down to your nickname, and it has led you to whine about Apple's popularity — the only reason why everything is compared to Apple.

  • They're drawing pictures with AN ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPE, and we're discussing it like it's going to be on the next generation of smart phones.
    This technology is at the "hey, look at the shadow of this Maltese cross created by the cathode rays!" [wikipedia.org] stage.
    • From the *very next* sentence in TFA: "They then found that the "nano-pixels" could be switched on and off electronically, creating colored dots that could be used as the basis for an extremely high-resolution display."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @07:17AM (#47442039)

    The human visual system is good for at most a resolution of around 1.2 arcminute per line pair. That's an outstanding eye, with outstanding conditions. Granted, looking at a light source like an iPhone screen is in general what I would call excellent conditions, except in the shadow detail areas. If they go OLED, even that will improve.

    But the bottom line is, do the math. It's pretty simple geometry. If you exceed what the human visual system can perceive, all you're doing is making marketing hype.

    Same thing applies to movie theaters -- where the hype is now 4k. Even Sony admits unless you are sitting in the first few rows of the theater, 4k is overkill and 2k is plenty. If you like the back row, a 4k projection won't give you any improvement over a 720p HDTV signal.

    I'm just sayin'... Do the math.

  • I already can't see the pixels even up ultra close on an iphone 5, I have difficulty on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and both of those displays are only "fairly good" by the new mid 2014 phone standard which is up to over 500ppi

    You want to impress me, get OLED happening everywhere, I've done the reading, I understand the tech, the colour range, refresh rate and incredibly black blacks are awesome.

    Also, 2d / 3d graphics processors are going to melt pushing this many pixels sooner or later :/

    • The problem of OLED is that it cannot compete with sunlight. So you can't see your display outside. We need full color e-ink, or something similar; a reflective/refractive or absorbive technology rather than an emmissive one.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      You want to impress me, get OLED happening everywhere, I've done the reading, I understand the tech, the colour range, refresh rate and incredibly black blacks are awesome.

      Blacker blacks maybe, but color range is actually excessive. We're already at 100% sRGB using LCD displays (see iPhone 5/5s). OLED displays have a gamut larger than sRGB, which results in photos that actually look worse - the images are completely oversaturated and start to look hyper-real.

      About the only good thing with them is you can to

  • It's good that they're working on this, getting better pixel densities will no doubt have applications somewhere (such as VR, google glass type hardware), but really, I don't want to start seeing 4k phone displays.
  • So.. you mean I might live to see a 35" monitor with over 300 dpi? (ok, I'll settle for a doubling of the current 100dpi).

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:15AM (#47442265) Homepage
    SO...... if you paint a white single-pixel width 15 degree line without any anti-aliasing onto a black background, what does the PPI need to be at so you don't notice any jaggies?

    300? 600? 1200? 2400 or more?
    • Whatever PPI is necessary to make it invisible.

      • by Twinbee (767046)
        I think that's a very good point, and something I considered too. I'm not sure that would work for ever-increasing brightnesses though.
    • Why?
      Because you dont want to use the built in hardware antialiasing (or are apple and cannot do anything competent like that, limiting things to integer pixel scales)?

      At what distance? I would suggest that at 100 meters, the PPI would be about 1, or less.

      Want to try again?

      • by Twinbee (767046)
        Anti-aliasing is a hack that complicates things for a few reasons:

        1: Anti-aliasing may look smoother but it also looks more blurred than non-antialiasing. That's why I based my test on no anti-aliasing.

        2: If Apple isn't do it, then it must be at least somewhat inherently tricky to get right. And at the least it breeds bugs. Kludges usually breed bugs somewhere down the line as a rule of thumb.

        3: Anti-aliasing complicates the OS (such as using Cleartype which has to be adjusted for every monitor it
  • On my screen, the sample pictures they show in the article look just as pixellated as any other picture.
  • I'd be plenty happy if I could buy a 24" desktop monitor with 2560×1600 pixels (125 DPI).

    Back in 2004 (10 years ago!) I had a Sager laptop with 135 DPI (1600×1200). That was an awesome display, but it seems like we have not made any progress since then: It's either barely stretch for 100 DPI on the desktop or 400+ DPI on a tiny mobile phone. Why can't we get 150 or 200 DPI on the desktop? Am I really the only one who cares?

  • by jfengel (409917) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @11:44AM (#47443133) Homepage Journal

    One possibility would be improving the color range, even if the resolution isn't improved. Rather than cramming in three phosophors per pixel, perhaps we could have four, or more. There's a considerable chunk of color space not well represented by RGB color.

    I don't know how much of a difference it would make to TV viewers or gamers, but I know that artists would be grateful for a better color range. The conversion from RGB to CMYK is always a bit of a crapshoot; things that look great on your screen don't look as good when they come back from the printers, and there's a whole range of stuff it doesn't occur to you to try because you can't see it.

    I could even imagine that it might be handy for medical imaging and other applications where you want to cram as much information onto the screen as possible: more pixels may not improve things but more colors might. Though more pixels could achieve that as well: it would be nice to be able to zoom in by bringing your face closer to the screen without simply seeing bigger pixels. Head motion is kinaesthetically appealing: you can move in and out without losing your sense of overall place.

    Sharp already makes a four-pixel TV, with an added yellow (which is especially helpful in skin tones). I think it would be neat to be able to produce true indigo, violent, and cyan. If this lets you add more phosphors without costing resolution, it might not be a killer app, but it could be a desirable thing.

  • I wonder how big images to be displayed on such a screen would be, or more important: what camera do you need to be able to support such resolutions?

  • You could have mentioned a bunch of non-Apple phones available right now, with far higher ppi than those two Apple devices - without fancy future "in 5 years"-tech. And I'm not talking obscure brands either. But I guess that was kinda the whole point right? A small advertisement with a tech article hardly anyone on here will read.
  • Currently we do have auto-stereoscropic displays (no glasses), but they only account for stereopsis, not accommodation (different focal distances for the eye). In current 3D displays, the 3D cue of stereopsis conflicts with the information from accommodation to a flat plane, and the 3D effect is significantly diminished (and can even cause discomfort or headaches). With an ultra high pixel density display base, lightfield displays become practical, and they can reproduce both stereopsis and different focal
  • Human visual acuity in a healthy human eyeball can discern features as tiny as 30-arcseconds in size. If you holding a retina display device 30 centimeters away from your face, 30 arc-seconds is only 48 micrometers at that distance, while retina displays use a resolution of 78 micrometers. Further, because the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem suggests that you will need at to sample at at least double the highest frequency of a signal to receive the signal with minimal distortion, suggesting that a true

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