Custom OLED microdisplay for industrial AR data glasses
The beginnings of Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) 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 has 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.
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.
“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 criteria for AR applications” explains Philipp Wartenberg, Head of Department for IC and System Design. “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 milliwatt at 120 frames per second.”
In addition to the display parameters, the new OLED microdisplay features simple driving electronics for an easy integration into portable systems and furthermore is available as evaluation kit.
The researchers at Fraunhofer FEP have equipped a first prototype of a HMD with see-through optics with these 720p displays.
The joint project “Glass@Service” was launched in March 2016 and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) as part of the “Smart Service World – Internet-based Services for Business” technology competition. The aim of the project is to establish an interactive personalized visualization in industrial processes by means of data glasses and other wearables using the example of the “digital factory” in electronics production.
Fraunhofer FEP – www.fep.fraunhofer.de