Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP develops microdisplays in OLED-on-silicon technology. At the SID Display Week 2019 (May 12-16 in San Jose, CA) Fraunhofer FEP (booth 1417) will present a new OLED microdisplay that is especially dedicated to industrial Augmented Reality data glasses.
The beginnings of Head-Mounted Displays date back to the 1960s. In the 1990s further developed data glasses, which are initially associated with the entertainment/gaming sector, were mainly used in professional scenarios, such as pilot training or robot programming. Today, data glasses and HMDs have become indispensable in the age of industry 4.0 for production, maintenance and medical applications.
For more than 10 years, Fraunhofer FEP has been developing applications and display solutions based on the OLED-on-silicon technology that are predestined for the use in data glasses and HMDs. In the meantime, a whole series of OLED microdisplays have been developed and their parameters are being continuously improved. Each display is designed application-specific because parameters such as brightness, resolution, power consumption, screen size and complexity of the electronics play a major role in the increasingly professional and demanding requirements.
Many initiatives such as the publicly funded "Glass@Service" project focused particularly on the development of see-through AR data glasses. To this end, the scientists have now evaluated the requirements for OLED microdisplays for the use in industrial applications. Figure 1 shows the comparison of the required parameter matrix of different microdisplays for various use cases.
Some of these use cases are already covered by existing OLED microdisplay solutions of Fraunhofer FEP: Wearables use look-around displays with limited resolution and frame rate but benefit from very high brightness and extremely low power consumption. On the other hand, there are quite different requirements for VR applications - these are fulfilled by a specially designed high-resolution WUXGA microdisplay with 2.3M pixels and 1-inch screen diagonal.
This portfolio is now being completed by a new generation of OLED microdisplays especially dedicated to the requirements of industrial AR data glasses (figure 2). Philipp Wartenberg, Head of Department for IC and System Design, presents: "Our new "720p Microdisplay" features high frame rates and high contrast ratios based on the OLED-on-silicon technology. At the same time, it offers low power consumption and thus meets one important criterion for AR applications. With a resolution of 1280 × 720 pixels at a screen diagonal of 0.64 inches and a subpixel size of 5.5 micrometers, it offers high-quality images at a low power consumption of 160 milliwatts at 120 frames per second.".
In addition to the display parameters, the new OLED microdisplay features simple driving electronics for easy integration into portable systems and furthermore is available as an evaluation kit.
The first prototype of an HMD with see-through optics for AR applications in industry (figure 3) is equipped with these 720p displays.