May 26, 2008 eMagin Corporation is using the Society for Information Display Conference and Exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center to showcase its latest OLED microdisplays which feature in products such as the Z800 3DVisor. The visor uses two power-efficient OLED microdisplays to provide wearers with the 3D equivalent of a 105-inch display viewed at 12 feet’s distance. It seems the longer this product is out there, the more potential applications surface - military training, graphic design, architectural modeling and... cranking up the volume on Half-Life 2 and whipping yourself into a fully immersive zombie killing frenzy.
Drawing its power entirely from a USB connection, the US$1499 Z800 3DVisor integrates the SVGA 3D OLED microdisplays with stereo audio, a noise canceling microphone, and a high-speed headtracker that enables full 360-degree virtual-surround viewing. The microdisplays use the same technology as the OLED displays in the US Army Land Warrior program, and can deliver high-speed, 800x600 triad pixels resolution, and high-color (>16.7 million). The displays can recognize and deliver left-eye and right-eye stereovision signals, buffeting color data under each pixel site to eliminate flicker and smear. The visor is compatible with PCs that can produce an analog SVGA resolution (800x600) with a refresh rate of 60 Hz - the 3DVisor cannot yet support higher resolutions or refresh rates, but it can still deliver visual quality if only 2D information is available.
The Z800 3DVisor web site has an extensive list of computer games that have stereovision 3D compatibility, including Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004, Doom 3, Painkiller, Half-Life 2 and America’s Army. When in stereovision 3D mode, the 60 Hz signal alternates between each display, providing a flicker-free refresh rate of 30 Hz per eye. The headtracker uses micro-electro-mechanical system accelerometers and gyroscopes to detect motion, allowing the movement of the users head to control mouse movement onscreen, giving users a fully "in-game" experience.
OLED technology has vastly enhanced the capabilities of VR platforms, for both gaming and training purposes. Unlike LCD screens, which require backlights, the pixels in Organic LEDs directly emit light, conserving space and power. It was this advantage that led to the widespread incorporation of OLED screens into MP3 players, phones and cameras, which were under pressure to provide increasingly detailed screens in ever-smaller units. However, the acceleration of OLED development has allowed it to grow far beyond its roots in handheld electronics. The higher contrast and wider dispersion of light provided by OLED displays makes it ideal for near-eye use, in products like the Z800 3DVisor.
At the Society for Information Display Conference and Exhibition, eMagin OLED technology also featured in the SVGA+ Rev3 OLED-XL microdisplay, the SXGA OLED microdisplay, the Rockwell Collins ProView SO35-MVMicroviewer, the Liteye 600, and the Total Fire Group’s Fire-Warrior micro thermal imaging system.