In recent years, virtual reality has moved from science fiction movies, to academic research labs, to product development in the industry, and finally into the hands of consumers in the real world. A number of marquee devices have been launched in the market along with some compelling immersive applications. At the same time, some cool augmented reality devices and developer kits have been released as well. The pace of progress in both virtual and augmented reality technologies has been rapid.
So, in line with this fast-emerging trend in the ecosystem, SID decided to create a special track on Augmented and Virtual Reality for Display Week 2016. The rich lineup included a short course, a seminar, a number of invited and contributed presentations in the symposium, and demonstrations on the exhibit floor.
It is just what the display industry needed to be on the verge of a massive rejuvenation!
Displays are the face of some of the most used electronic devices in our daily lives – such as the smartphone, tablet, laptop, monitor, and TV, among numerous other examples. As such, the health of the display industry rises and falls with the growth and saturation of these devices. Take the exciting phase of innovation in LCD TV technology as an example. The screen size went from 24 in. to 32 in. to 40 in. to 55 in. to 80 in. and above! The resolution went from 720p to full HD to QHD and beyond, whereas the frame rates went from 60 to 120 frames per second. And there were many more advances – contrast, brightness, color, etc. However, it gets to a point where further advances in display technology provide only small incremental benefits to the consumer. This often leads to a reduced demand for new features and a slowdown in the development.
Let’s now turn to virtual reality. It’s a completely different story at the moment. The displays on the best, state-of-the-art, VR devices today fall way short of the specifications required for truly immersive and responsive experiences, despite the dizzying pace of development. The pixel density needs to increase significantly and latencies must be reduced drastically, along with many other improvements such as increased field of view, reduced pixel persistence, higher frame-rates, etc. Besides the display, the systems also require integration of accurate sensing and tracking technologies. Augmented reality devices impose additional requirements.
So this is exciting for the researchers and engineers in the industry. Back to solving some difficult challenges, with the potential for big returns. Judging by the excellent quality of the papers, presentations, and exhibitions at the Display Week, it’s obvious the display ecosystem is all geared up. Game on! – Achin Bhowmik