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UCF Research Could Bring 'Drastically' Higher Resolution To Your Phone and TV (ucf.edu) 108

New submitter cinemetek quotes a report from University of Central Florida: Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a new color changing surface tunable through electrical voltage that could lead to three times the resolution for televisions, smartphones and other devices. Current LCD's are made up of hundreds of thousands of pixels that display different colors. With current technology, each of these pixels contain three subpixels -- one red, one green, one blue. UCF's NanoScience Technology Center (Assistant Professor Debashis Chanda and physics doctoral student Daniel Franklin) have come up with a way to tune the color of these subpixels. By applying differing voltages, they are able to change the color of individual subpixels to red, green or blue -- the RGB scale -- or gradations in between. By eliminating the three static subpixels that currently make up every pixel, the size of individual pixels can be reduced by three. Three times as many pixels means three times the resolution. That would have major implications for not only TVs and other general displays, but augmented reality and virtual-reality headsets that need very high resolution because they're so close to the eye.
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UCF Research Could Bring 'Drastically' Higher Resolution To Your Phone and TV

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  • THIS!!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MikeDataLink ( 536925 ) <mike@@@murraynet...net> on Friday May 26, 2017 @09:11PM (#54495707) Homepage Journal

    This is something I have been hoping for for quite some time! This will lead to incredible resolution for VR headsets and that will make all of the difference in how immersive they are.

    • Comcast will be able to compress the video streams even further, making room for more video channels.

      This is a net win for the consumer! More video channels means better value!

      • One Hand: Comcast, The Other Hand: Better Value....You can only choose one.
      • I fail to see how a change in the display technology will reduce the amount of data required to encode the content being displayed.

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      Assuming the response time is adequate enough. Mirasol (which also used structural color) had this problem at first. Hopefully the color isn't washed-out, another problem Mirasol had. Theoretically, the higher brightness allowed by this tech could lead to killer HDR, and brighter digital projectors (of particular importance for 3d films.) The higher backlighting efficiency should allow for lower-power displays, since the backlight wouldn't need to be so bright.

    • by donaldm ( 919619 )

      This is something I have been hoping for for quite some time! This will lead to incredible resolution for VR headsets and that will make all of the difference in how immersive they are.

      A 4K 16:9 aspect ratio screen would suffice for most VR applications since the human eye would be really hard pressed to distinguish the individual pixels especially when the scene you are viewing is in motion. Even 1080p on a small screen is reasonably acceptable although you will always get the purists who want a different aspect ratio and an even higher resolution.

      Even TV's which air now coming out at 4K (cheaper models don't support HDR) will be superseded in a few years as 8K starts to become mainstr

      • future proofing

        There's no such thing. You can be "future safe for a while", but sooner or later the technology will catch up with whatever you bought.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Most of the problems for VR isn't resolution, even if it's good to have a good resolution. It's latency that causes problems where the users are suffering from vertigo due to the lag it creates.

      • Most of the problems for VR isn't resolution, even if it's good to have a good resolution. It's latency that causes problems where the users are suffering from vertigo due to the lag it creates.

        It's not just resolution or latency. There is a missing quality somewhere that is hard to quantify. It's the quality that allows you to instantly tell the difference between a window, a mirror, and a monitor on the wall. I'm still waiting for the day that I can install a monitor in my wall that allows me to look out my fake window and look like I'm seeing the ocean or the grand canyon. Lake view or ocean view property becomes a lot less valuable once we have perfected fake windows.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      AMOLED is preferred for VR headsets.
      The main advantages of AMOLED are better blacks, which is important in a completely dark headset and faster response times, which is essential in VR.
      Resolution is important too but it has to go together with fast graphics to ensure a low latency, otherwise you may get sick.

  • now how about drastically higher resolution for my eyes. While they're at it get me a 32 core i10 or a Ryzen 13 or whatever that can push that many pixels.
  • price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Friday May 26, 2017 @09:18PM (#54495733)
    I'm not sure if my eyes can see all of the resolution I have.. so I'll take the same resolution I have now, but at half the price please.
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      I can tell the difference between 720p and 1080p. 4K seems just a bit clearer than 1080. I remember when I got my 1080p HDTV in 2010 I was blown the fuck away by it coming from an old 32" NTSC set. Since then, it's not enough to get me excited. Yes, it's better. When my current set dies, I'll get one of the new ones.

      • by MouseR ( 3264 )

        While I'm still using 1080p, there is a whole lot more you can see in 4k. Like flying out-of-place hairs, reflects on the tip on black head pimples, old riddled skin of news presenter, herpes scars on porn... yeah... I'm still on 1080p.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's pretty easy to see the difference between 720p and 1080p on 32" when you are two feet away in the store. When it's a dozen feet away in my living room, not so much. So my TV is 720p, but I see no reason to upgrade. New glasses were a better upgrade.

        • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

          The reason I upgraded? I noticed that on my NTSC set I couldn't see the score on the football game. It is in the corner and with HD broadcast the corner was out of sight on my screen. I didn't realize how cheap they had gotten, I got a nice 50" 240hz 1080p TV for 600 dollars on a Black Friday sale. It weighs a fraction of what my old set did and uses far less power. When I turned my old one on the lights in my living room used to flicker. I'll pop for a 4K when this dies or on this one's 10th anniversary, w

  • Sounds potentially very interesting. Perhaps more than just smaller pixels (which are already retina-tiny and still getting smaller), if they can recreate the entire visible spectrum per pixel, that potentially results in "perfect" colour accuracy, rather than relying on mixing RGB colours - e.g. currently Yellow is made from Red + Green pixels. Could bring a whole new level of realism to display screens, even more than OLED and HDR. May even improve power efficiency over OLED etc, lighting one pixel rat
    • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Friday May 26, 2017 @10:16PM (#54495871)

      Except for the fact that many (I would assume most) colors don't actually fall anywhere on the color spectrum, but are instead a blending of multiple "pure" colors as perceived by our RGB retinas.

      Consider even a pure-gas florescent tube - the color of the light given off is actually a combination of the multiple independent emission wavelengths of the element being excited - look at it through a spectroscope and you can see the individual pure colors - none of which closely resemble the color you see with your naked eye.

      The most accurate perceived colors would probably actually be achieved by RGB subpixels that perfectly match the excitation frequencies of the cones in our eyes, combined with extremely fine-grained output levels. We can't actually see any other frequencies directly anyway - our color perception is based on interpreting the relative excitation of the three different "band pass filters" embodied in the different kinds of cones.

      Though... come to think of it I'm not at all certain they have a simple band-pass style response curve - the detector molecules might actually have fairly complicated multi-peaked response curve.

      • The most accurate perceived colors would probably actually be achieved by RGB subpixels that perfectly match the excitation frequencies of the cones in our eyes

        No, because our cones are blue, yellow-red and yellow-green, with considerable overlap, especially between the two latter ones. To produce a green experience, you need to stimulate the yellow-green cone, but not the yellow-red, and to do that, you need a green emitting pixel. If you try stimulating the yellow-green cone with its exact center frequency, you'll also stimulate the yellow-red cone, and produce a yellow-green experience.

        • This exactly. The overlap of the cones is a good example of why you can't simulate pure colours through any combination of our existing spectral spectral responses. You can actually do this on a computer with mathematical convolution but our brains don't work like that.

        • You're right. I suppose the optimal would actually be a trio of colors that only stimulate one cone each - though that might well not be possible depending on the frequency response curve.

          • Blue and green are very close to peak (there's very little red/green response to peak blue, and peak green is about the best you can get without stimulating red too much, or blue at all), but red is over towards infrared from the peak, which avoids stimulating green cones too much.

            https://jakubmarian.com/wp-con... [jakubmarian.com]

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          I'm kinda surprised that nobody has tried building a quantum dot display with more than three primaries yet, at least not that I've heard of. Like if you went hex [uic.edu] with six primaries I think you should come very, very close to any point on the response curve [wikimedia.org]. Maybe combine it with a hex grid [wikimedia.org] instead of square pixels with every other triangle being the "new" primaries and the other three the old, something like this [directupload.net]. That kind of Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Turquoise-Blue display should kick ass. Now the obvious

        • Actually the blue and green frequencies used are quite close to peak - there's too much overlap between red, green and blue on the green cone to choose anything better for the green cone (before red drops off enough, blue comes in and ruins it).

          The red frequency used is quite far over towards infra-red from the peak, though.

          https://jakubmarian.com/wp-con... [jakubmarian.com]

      • by slew ( 2918 ) on Saturday May 27, 2017 @02:20AM (#54496397)

        FWIW as you noted, the cones in our eyes have "band-pass" filters in order form them so to accurate receive colors is not really that important the for the RGB spectra of the pixels match the LMS (long medium short) band-pass filters of the cones in your eye, only that the relative response is maintained.

        Having said that the way you sense colors is not at all how your eye receives the stimulus from the cones in your eyes. First of all, the colors are not sensed as relative responses, but opponent color responses: L-M (aka R-G), L+M-S (aka Y-B) and intensity. This makes for some interesting colors that are not sensed (e.g., reddish-green and yellowish-blue) and even some "impossible" colors. This amplifies any mismatch in your "filters" so unless they are *exact*, you will sense the difference.

        Fortunately (unfortunately?) the way we perceive colors is different than the way we sense colors. Your brain is really painting the colors for your perception in your visual cortex after it's done some "white-balancing" too so what color you remember is a significantly influence by your setting and context. Remember the blue/black dress that broke the internet [slashdot.org] (or was it gold)?

        Long story short, what you think of as perceiving color is really only "hinted" at by the cone response in your eyes. Any ability to distinguish "shades" of color is really a contrast response, not a color frequency response.

        Back to this new technology, of course if you are a "traditionalist" and still believe in absolute color and frequency responses and gamuts, probably won't like this new technology at all given these pathetic gamut tracings [nature.com], but if you follow a bit down the rabbit hole of your visual cortex, and look at what was once possible with Kinemacolor [wikipedia.org] a (simple two-color) processes and realize that what most people think of as color, really isn't how you perceive color at all, it is really all in your head.

  • since screens have 2 dimensions?
    • No, the subpixel division is just in one dimension, usually horizontal for subpixel font rendering to be effective.
    • You're on the right track, but going the wrong direction. It would be sqrt(3) times the resolution.

      This change (if it would actually work as imagined, which it would not - color vision is considerably more complicated) would let each sub-pixel be it's own pixel, so you get 3x the pixels in the same area But resolution is a linear measurement. Pixel count goes up with resolution-squared, but we're calculating in the opposite direction.

  • You need to change the brightness of the color as well. Using the voltage to change the color would meant that you can't use it to change the brightness, which is the way current LCD's work.
    • Are you sure they can't? A component is after all capable of having more than one input driving it in different ways, and I think it's probably safe to assume this isn't a simple single-junction diode.

    • And if it really is any color on the spectrum, it can't do purple.
    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      Indeed, the research paper points this out as a problem.

  • White? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Since "white" isn't on the color gamut but a blending of multiple colors, how do they do white?

  • That's assuming that this new pixel can be manufactured at the same scale. If you can make normal RGB pixels smaller, then this will never take off.
  • .... effectively shining flashlights into our eyes when we read computer screens and put some work into realizing a commercially viable cmyk display with decent resolution and refresh times on par with that of existing rgb displays.
    • That would make it hard to use in the dark.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        You mean like how it is already hard to read in the dark? Same difference, really. There's no inherent reason that you need something you are looking at to produce its own light.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Photons are photons, the only theoretical difference is that a CMYK display that depends on reflection instead of emission would work relative to the amount of light available so it a dark place they'd be dark and in a very bright place like in sunlight they'd be bright. In practice though, we don't have surfaces that reflect all the possible combinations of light that you can emit, that is to say Pointer's gamut. But even within that gamut it's not a solid, you can't just pick a point and say I want exactl

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        Photons are photons, the only theoretical difference is that a CMYK display that depends on reflection instead of emission would work relative to the amount of light available so it a dark place they'd be dark and in a very bright place like in sunlight they'd be bright.

        Which is an important distinction, since your pupils naturally expand or contract according to the amount of light available in your *ENTIRE* field of view, not just whatever from you are trying to necessarily consciously concentrate on rea

  • A higher resolution is all well and good, but can it create something worth watching ? All this improvement in color and clarity and we're still watching half a day of reruns of bad reality shows, and the other half of paid advertisements.
    A reboot of a re-envisioned show about a neverwas starring a wannabe and 2 neverwillbe's.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      The only stuff worth watching was all produced in black and white.

      Now get off my lawn!

  • Being able to change the color of a pixel isn't the same as letting it represent all colors. There are 3 dimensions to color space - whether you write is as red, green and blue or hue, saturation and intensity. If they can control both the brightness (intensity) and color (hue) of their pixel, they are still missing one dimension - saturation. Until they can deal with gray, olive (a grayish green), tan and all those other not totally saturated colors, it can't replace the current technology.
  • I doubt that I could discern the difference.
  • >" could lead to three times the resolution for televisions, smartphones and other devices."

    Perhaps for "other devices", but for TVs and general phone use, it is a waste of time. Unless they plan on increasing the human eye and brain along with it.

    Example: 99.9% of people won't notice any difference between quality 1080P and 4K at a normal distance for the size of the screen (perhaps 9-10 feet for a 70-80" screen). Same thing with a 5.5" phone held at a normal 16" or so (although reading/viewing static

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      >> 99.9% of people won't notice any difference between quality 1080P and 4K at a normal distance for the size of the screen

      Disagree. I just went from a 1080p TV to a similarly sized 4K TV. The difference in visual clarity is massively obvious with the right content (i.e. blu-ray or better) The real problem is that 4K content is still a rarity.

      Yes blu-ray is only 1080p but the TV does a good enough job of upscaling that even that source provides a noticable improvement with 4k.

      • I am more inclined to believe you are just in that very small 0.1% of people who can actually tell :)

        I can tell too, but only with extraordinary content, and only with no motion (OR, if I stand three feet from my 80" TV). Neither is typical for most video, though. More useful for displaying stills.

        • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

          >> I am more inclined to believe you are just in that very small 0.1% of people who can actually tell :)

          I seriously doubt that its .1%. The difference is freaking obvious.

          >> Neither is typical for most video, though.

          Yet. 4k will become the new 1080. Not least because it allows hollywood to re-sell all their old movies yet again, and implement better DRM.

  • "Three times as many pixels means three times the resolution."

    WRONG. Three times as many pixels means sqrt(3) times the resolution.

  • Drastically higher resolution serves no purpose. Whilst I disagreed with the people who were saying 4k looks no different from 1080p, clearly not the case, especially when it comes to fonts and jaggies, I do think that the diminishing returns are small enough that any additional resolution is not worth it because of the extra power draw and because with 3d software, higher resolution is at the expense of techniques which will work better towards a better quality experience.

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