Just a few years ago, mobile displays took a leap forward with increased pixel densities that ensure crisp images on realtively small screens. Today, most smartphones feature displays with up to 538 pixels per inch (ppi) – a resolution that is much higher than what the human eye can see. So what’s the next display innovation we can look forward to?
In her recent article on IEEE Spectrum, Sarah Lewin introduced two companies that are working on making what she calls “holographic” light field displays (i.e. glasses-free 3D displays) a reality.
Ostendo Technologies recently presented the results of nine years’ work at the Display Week conference: An array of 4×2 Quantum Photonic Imager chips (each consisting of LEDs, image processors and embedded rendering software) plus microlens array form a 1 megapixel (1024x768px, XGA resolution) prototype display which sends out light not into every direction – like conventional displays do – but rather into very narrow, collimated angles of light. This enables the prototype to emit different images into different directions, producing about 2,500 different perspective views, so the image and motion displayed appear consistent regardless of the viewer’s position. Continue reading
At CES 2014, semiconductor giant Qualcomm gave the media and conference visitors some live demonstrations of the recently announced Snapdragon 805 processor. The company’s new flagship System-on-a-Chip (SoC) is powered by a quad-core Krait 450 CPU (2.5 GHz), an Adreno 420 GPU (500 MHz), and even contains a dual camera image signal processor.
To show what is possible with this higher degree of computational power, Qualcomm showed off some new camera features which may make it into the next generation of mobile devices. Continue reading
Almost exactly one year ago, Toshiba announced a new light field camera module being developed, which would be small enough for easy inclusion in today’s smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
Details on this camera module, “TCM9518MD”, were generally sparse, but over the course of the year, it became clear that Toshiba had steered development towards a dual camera setup with simultaneous image and depth data collection.
According to a recent Business Wire report, the Japanese electronics is preparing shipments of first samples to interested manufacturers, to be sent out by January 31 2014. Continue reading
Google’s Nexus line of smartphones and tablets represents not only a family of mobile devices with a pure, unadulterated Android experience, but also important flagship devices with the newest OS version and features.
Recent rumors have outfitted the next Nexus phone generation, dubbed Nexus 5, with the innovative MEMS camera technology. The first ever camera with MEMS technology, short for micro-electro-mechanical silicone system, was presented to the world about 6 months ago and offers ultra-fast focus (up to 7x faster than current cameras) while minimizing both size and energy consumption. The product has been marketed as bringing Lytro-like software refocus to smartphones, without the need for light field technology.
Not too long ago, Pelican Imaging announced their own solution to bring light field technology to mobile devices. In the Lytro Light Field Camera and similar setups, the optical elements take up too much space for integration in smartphones (or other small devices). Pelican chose a different path, using an array of 16 tiny cameras and creating a camera module that is only 3 mm thick (i.e. 50 % of today’s high-end smartphone camera modules), costs 20 $ in production, and creates pictures at 8 Megapixel effective resolution.
At this week’s Qualcomm Uplinq conference in San Diego CA, Pelican showed off their camera and software features on an Android tablet. Continue reading