June 4, 2007 We've long been excited by the possibilities offered by wearable micro-screens. The ability to mount a miniature display in a set of glasses opens up a whole new portable video experience where any seat on the bus can be a personal movie theatre and you'll be able to enjoy your video in complete privacy. Now, with the anouncement of a volume manufacturing facility in Dresden, Germany, MicroEmissive Displays (MED) is ready to step beyond the prototype and bring commercial microscreens into the mass market. They'll start things off with mass production of the eyescreen ME3204, a 320 x 240 RGB display packed into a 6mm pixel array. It's tiny, bright and clear, with ultra-low power consumption, and the wearer sees the equivalent of a 30" screen at a 2 metre distance.
The eyescreen ME3204 is the first device to be manufactured at MED's new production facility in Dresden, Germany. The new line is fully automated and capable of making commercial volumes of displays - up to ten million units per annum once fully ramped.
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MED's Professor Ian Underwood said: “Our technology has been talked and written about a great deal, and has won wide recognition in several independent awards. The buzz is getting louder now that its benefits are starting to be seen in real mass- market products of the future. We now have the production capacity to meet this growing demand and our demo kits will spread the word even more widely amongst product design engineers looking for a fast, robust design-in solution for smaller, lighter-weight, stylish products.”
The eyescreen ME3204 is a colour Polymer Organic Light Emitting Diode (P-OLED) QVGA (320 x RGB x 240) microdisplay featuring 230K dots in a compact 6 mm (0.24”) diagonal pixel array. It is mounted on a flex assembly to enable simplified design-in to end products. The eyescreen ME3204 has a two-wire serial interface, BT.656 and 8-bit serial RBG digital inputs, and runs off a single 2.5 V supply.
With no backlight required, the integrated display driver electronics and digital video interface simplify integration into a wide range of systems and enable product designers to develop smaller and lighter weight products. The very high optical contrast ratio gives pictures with a vivid 3-D like appearance, and the eyescreen is effectively free from visible pixelation or ‘chicken wire effect’, thanks to this P-OLED microdisplay’s high fill factor.
The company sees several applications for the technology beyond the video-glasses concept. Electronic viewfinders for digital cameras, camcorders and night vision systems top the list, but the technology is clearly in place for inventive designers to incorporate the effective microscreens into a range of more 'out there' applications such as VR gaming systems, or industrial/sporting heads-up displays.
So the technology and production capability is now in place - which companies will be first to run with the eyescreen and make the biggest waves on the market?View gallery - 4 images