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Everything OLED

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Point of No Return


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[Source]
Commercial OLED products are well under way, and it shouldn't be too long before we see them trickle into the shops. All of the troubles that plagued the other contender to the TV crown - SED - don't seem like an issue for OLED.

But the outcome wasn't always looking this rosy for OLED. The known issues of blue lifetime, manufacturing difficulties, and the generally fast progress of LCD technology, put the dream of OLED on a knife edge for a while.

Thankfully LCD wasn't quite good enough, soon enough.

Five years ago, had LCD advanced to the level it's at now, we may have had to wait MUCH longer for OLED to take hold. At that time, LCD was far poorer - there was no Wide Color Gamut CFL (WCG-CCFL) backlight, never mind LCD backlighting. No 100 frames per second either, and response times, viewing angle and general piture quality was far from what it is today. Indeed, back then OLED looked like the answer to all our dreams.

But it's too late now. OLED has passed the point of no return. And even though the margin from LCD has narrowed in recent years, so much OLED investment has been made that it will surely come to dominate the market within 5-10 years.

Oh sure, OLED was always going to eventually come to market, but it may have taken 10 or even 20 years longer, since LCD would have been perceived as 'good enough' for the market.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weird and Wonderful Uses for OLED


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Because OLED is so thin and flexible, it lends itself to many applications that be awkward for other display technologies. Without further ado, here are four of the coolest ones yet:


1: OLED cancer fighting band aid.

Usually, a patient would be required to stay in the hospital to get zapped by red lazers to treat the cancer. Instead they can go home and let the OLED bandage do all the work.


2: OLED Rearview 'mirror'.

If cars used a thin OLED screen for the mirror, there'd be less need to worry about blind spots, because the 'mirror' could show anything. That's gotta make driving safer and more convenient.


3: Optimus Organic LED keyboard

We mentioned this briefly in the first post. Imagine if keys could contain mini screens to portray their function. Instead of icons that we point and click with the mouse, one can start to press the keys directly. Keyboard shortcuts suddenly look a lot more intuitive. Even the letters of the alphabet can change completely for things like 3D programs.


4: Eyeglass responds to eye movement

OLED has often been mentioned as being useful to incorporate transparent images into eye glasses to augment reality. Well this gizmo goes a step further and responds to eye movements (blinking, eyeball moving) to scroll and otherwise manipulate imagery inside the lens. An eye sensor is used to track the eye. Pretty nifty stuff...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Colour Me Green


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[Source: Nokia Research, Johan Bergquist] This CIE diagram effectively compares the colur gamut of each device. The pink and red triangles almost intercept each other by the way.
One of the nice things about OLED is the superior green output of the technology.

No, I'm not talking about reducing carbon emissions or saving energy (though that's true as well), but rather the saturation of the green light component of the display. CRTs and LCDs have generally fared pretty well displaying blue and red, but for whatever reasons, the colour green has always fell short, exhibiting some blue pollution and even more red pollution (for more details and info, visit this page). What should be a deep crisp emerald green usually turns into a murky grey-green swamp.

This is where OLED comes in. Glance to the image on the right. It's a CIE diagram showing the output of 4 colour standards - sRGB, NTSC, LCD, and of course OLED. Notice the larger colour gamut of the yellow OLED triangle. Even the red saturation is deeper. Although the blue component has a way to go compared to sRGB/LCD (veering towards green/cyan), the document containing this diagram was published in February 2007, so the tech could have advanced since then.


For a preview of what OLED's green/blue may be capable of, try our very own 'Eclipse of Mars' illusion.

When you finally purchase an OLED screen for yourself, also check out the LCD test site and our own 'test card' which checks for colour, detail and other attributes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Start Of Something Big


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[Source] The new Optimus keyboard will allow every key to be customized to whatever graphic you wish.
I love OLED to bits, and so with this blog, I'll be aiming to bring insight, opinion, along with (only) the cream of news.

As many of you probably already know, OLED is a wonderful lighting technology which will be suitable for television, handheld devices (such as ipods and mobile phones) and even general purpose lighting. Compared to LCD, CRT or plasma, it has the advantage of being solid state, with deep blacks, colour saturation and a near 180 degree viewing angle.

They're also super thin. We're talking about a display which can be measured in MILLIMETRES or less, not centimetres. Combine that with the ability to manufacture OLED screens with printing techniques and we have the potential to hang giant OLED screens on the wall or on every packet of cornflakes. OLED's response rate is also second to none, so expect fluid video, with none of the motion blur plaguing LCD screens.

In fact, almost every possible benchmark you can think of looks favourable next to LCD or plasma. That's why it's not just an evolutionary step in the world of lighting/display technology, but a complete revolution. OLED will be everywhere; a standard.

Of course, there are a couple of short term hurdles yet to overcome, including cost of manufacture, and the lifetime of the blue OLED element. But these issues are being solved, and of course Sony have already released their small but tasty XEL-1 11" OLED TV (if you have $2500 to spare). A quick search in the news will yield increasing amounts of OLED related coverage. With everything from mobile phones to Apple's upcoming laptop, to embedded displays for each key in the new Optimus keyboard, the future's looking bright indeed.

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