1,667 pixels-per-inch: Hands on with a micro OLED bi-directional display

1,667 pixels-per-inch: Hands on with a micro OLED bi-directional display
When we talk about displays and mobile devices, it is common to think about Samsung, LG, and Japan Display (JDI) as the leading manufacturers of cutting edge display technology.

Indeed, Samsung is the current darling of mobile displays, as the panel on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge is simply a sight to behold. The 5.1-inch display is packing a class leading 577 pixels-per-inch, has great contrast, and it gets amazingly bright for outdoor use as well.

As great an execution of technology the Samsung display is, you know there are teams of engineers looking to push the envelope even further. Not only are these companies looking to increase resolution to new levels, but also expand the functionality and scope of the displays.

One area where this is going to be a hot issue is within the sector of augmented reality (AR). As wearables become more prevalent, AR will find more and more use cases for businesses and consumers. Small, high-resolution displays are part of that equation, and that is one area where the Fraunhofer Institute, based in Dresden, Germany, is developing remarkable technology. The Fraunhofer Institute is part of the Fraunhofer Society, Europe’s largest applied research organization specializing in health, security, communication, energy, and the environmental applications.

To that end, the Fraunhofer Institute has created a miniaturized OLED display with SVGA (600x800) resolution measuring just 0.6-inches diagonal. That provides a pixel density of 1,667 pixels-per-inch. 1,667.

That specification alone is pretty impressive, but this panel is more than a simple display, it is a bi-directional unit. That means it has the ability to produce and record images. This is due to a unique pixel set-up. Rather than a four-subpixel RGBW (red, green, blue, white) arrangement, this display from Fraunhofer has five subpixels. The fifth subpixel is a photo diode, adding an imaging sensor.

In addition to detecting light (and displaying such light as we show in the video below), that photo diode can also serve as a means to detect eye movement in an AR or VR environment.

Fraunhofer does not discuss the companies that engage with its research, but when we asked and mentioned all the usual suspects in the display space, there was that just-pregnant-enough-pause before the “no comment” that we feel pretty good in projecting that we will begin seeing this technology in various forms in the very near future. If you happen to be a developer and are interested in exploring this technology, check the reference link below to go to the Fraunhofer Institute’s site for more information.

reference: Fraunhofer Institute



1. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

"That means it has the ability to product and record images." -Maxwell R. (PA) Product? Huh? Como?

3. Gawain

Posts: 448; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

Written like a true SoCal snob...

19. iosl0ver5eva

Posts: 119; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

you must be a hick

5. justForTheRecord

Posts: 51; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

So ... finally "they" can be looking back at you while you're looking at your phone without having to access any camera. Slick. In a 1984-kind of way. ^_^

10. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Well, not really looking back at you tho. They're not cameras, just plenty of photo diodes.

6. waddup121 unregistered

I heard you like pixels, so we added 1667 ppi to your device so you can see pixels while watching the movie Pixels.

2. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Really looking forward to having functional augmented reality. I hope it happens in my lifetime.

7. HappySocks unregistered

Apple just purchased an augmented reality firm. Assuming you aren't an 80 year old male living anywhere outside of Asia, I'd say without a doubt :P

11. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

Yeah, I probably have around 50 years left in me :) Plenty of time for tech to improve.

20. b0wzer

Posts: 103; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

I am more interested in VR than AR, but I believe both will be available within a year. Tech like this will provide higher resolutions while making the HMD much smaller and lighter. Eventually we won't need screens at all, and images will be projected onto your eyes. Then the eye will become obsolete as well and a small implant will be able to "hack" directly into the optic nerve. The future will be amazing!

4. JnCrls unregistered


8. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Aren't Volvo and HTC making virtual reality devices and games? Release date?

21. b0wzer

Posts: 103; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Not sure about Volvo, but HTC/Valve will come out with the Re-Vive by the end of the year. The Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus, Microsoft Hololens, and many more will come soon after that. It's an exciting time for VR/AR!

22. james2841

Posts: 167; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

you forgot about steamvr

23. b0wzer

Posts: 103; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

No i didn't. HTC/Valve, Re-Vive = SteamVR

9. mixedfish

Posts: 1565; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

An article about *European* innovation and yet it talks about *Samsung* for the first 3 paragraphs. Well done PA...

12. JMartin22

Posts: 2380; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

They're relevant to the context of the conversation when it comes to comparing and contrasting. What's wrong with you? Lol

15. mixedfish

Posts: 1565; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Didn't school teach you the basics that the first paragraph in any article/essay/piece is your contention? What contention are you trying to convey if you make absolutely no mentioning or relation to the headline except how great Samsung panels are for ~30% of the entire article. Lol nice try.

16. Tondern

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

And thus he revealed his own age.

17. Ashoaib

Posts: 3309; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Indeed Samsung's displays are great, whats wrong in mentioning it? why you are feeling so upset?

13. Elfmonster unregistered

So let me get this straight. Displays will be cameras? Hell to the yeah.

14. Tondern

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

NSA funded research I'm sure.

18. bobby2803

Posts: 32; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

So mi4 inside Kremlin screen scene and invisible cloak with this pliable screen all around.

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