​Google and LG develop world's highest resolution OLED display - for VR

Google and LG unveil the world's highest resolution display in bid to make VR more life like.

Google and LG are working on a new super-high resolution display that comes close to matching how humans see in real life.

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Google's head of AR and VR Clay Bavor last year said engineers needed to keep pushing VR displays until they feel "completely real", and researchers from both companies have been working out how to achieve this within the confines of today's mobile technology. At Display Week 2018 this week they revealed what they are describing as "the world's highest resolution display".

However, in a paper the researchers note significant hurdles to achieving a display that closely approximates how humans see. A headset would need provide a wide field of view (FoV) of over 100 degrees, a display with between 1,000 to 2,200 pixels per inch resolution, and 15 to 25 million pixels per eye.

Even these specs don't come close to a human-like vision system. This would require a 160 degree horizontal FoV and a 150 degree vertical FoV. Seeing in 20/20 acuity for this FoV would also require 9600 x 9000 pixels per eye.

See: Executive's guide to the business value of VR and AR (free ebook)

The 4.3-inch display they built gets closer but isn't there yet, offering a 120 degree horizontal FoV and 96 degree vertical FoV, as well as an impressive 4,800 x 3,840 pixels per eye. It also has a pixel density of 1,443 pixels per inch and a 120Hz refresh rate.

For comparison, the HTC Vive Pro gave users a much sharper picture than the HTC Vive but the display only featured 1,400 x 1,600 pixels per eye.

The display by Google and LG is unlikely to make the leap from lab to consumer products any time soon. Google employee Carlin Vieri told 9to5Google that this project aimed to "push the industry forward".

To this end, the researchers attempted to tweak the display system to operate with some realistic constraints, for example by designing it to be powered by a mobile system on chip and using a refresh rate of 75 Hz or 90 Hz.

"We have designed and fabricated a very high pixel count (>18MP), ultra-high ppi (1443 ppi) OLED display for VR applications," the researchers explain.

"This is currently the world's highest resolution OLED on glass display. White OLED material and color filters were used to meet the high ppi requirements, and an n-type LTPS backplane was used to meet the panel driving and image ghosting requirements.

"Foveation logic was implemented in an FPGA to convert the low bandwidth foveated image rendered on a mobile processor to the high bandwidth stream required by the display. The result is a stunning visual experience in a mobile VR system."

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