The asset-light company has developed a broad patent portfolio around what it markets as the UHPD platform (for Ultra-High Pixel-Density). The former CEO of Chinese AMOLED display manufacturer EverDisplay Optronics (EDO), INT Tech’s chairman and CEO David Chu founded the company two years ago after identifying 5G and high resolution content as the driving forces for tomorrow’s display technologies.
While feature phones came with 3G and smartphones followed with 4G, the high bandwidth supported by 5G will drive up content resolution, calling for much higher resolution displays than what’s available today, commented the CEO when interviewed by eeNews Europe.
According to Chu, current technology is limiting pixel density and the quality of AR and VR applications that could be supported by 5G, possibly including data-intensive light-field displays. “When 5G arrives, people will no longer be satisfied with 2D images and video”, he says.
Although the CEO stated his company was not in a position yet to disclose anything specific about the actual deposition process, he highlighted some of its benefits: the use of readily available and cheap glass substrates (including flexible ones) instead of costly silicon-based substrates as it is the case for other micro-displays.
“We are not using white OLEDs together with colour filters but truly RGB OLEDs” he added, achieving better light output efficiencies from a thinner display stack.
According to INT Tech’s literature, the sub-micron thin film transistor (TFT) process it developed supports smaller pixel sizes while enabling a much larger aperture ratio, and the technology can be deployed in flat panel fabs. On one slide, Chu presented close-up photos of the 326ppi iPhone 6 display, the 572ppi Samsung S8 and the 2228ppi UHPD side-by-side. Because the higher pixel density glass-based displays can be made much larger than silicon-based OLEDs, they provide a larger field-of-view in VR applications, which eliminates any screen door effect while increasing image sharpness at the same.
The company is currently developing a 2.17″ 4K resolution display to prove its capabilities. Talking about light-field displays, Chu firmly believes that only the adoption of 5G together with next-gen GPUs will make it possible to process and broadcast dedicated content.
“Just designing the ICs to drive light-field displays is a tremendous challenge, but now you don’t have to worry about the display’s front plane and backplane” the CEO noted.
“We are in good relation with various companies working on light-field displays and we work closely with VR headset manufacturers but we can’t disclose who they are as all of this is done under NDA” said Chu, talking about OEM partners.
As a derivative to its ultra-high pixel density capabilities, INT Tech is also introducing a second platform dubbed Smart Pixel and IC (SPIC) that supports the integration of multiple sensors on the same backplane as the display.
The thinking is that if 5G takes too long to deliver on its promise, and depending on the extra functions you want to integrate, INT Tech could trade some of its redundant pixels for light sensors to be used in 4G products. One example given by Chu was that out of a 2228ppi pixel resolution, a panel could be designed to allocate 600ppi for the actual emissive display, 500ppi for fingerprint sensing and 150ppi for touch detection while still having plenty of pixel resources. Other functions suggested by the startup include eye tracking, ambient light detection and proximity sensing, all using the same backplane as the display, basically here at virtually no extra cost.
Although AR and VR are obvious markets for INT Tech’ UHPD platform, the CEO expects the ultra-high resolution displays to bring significant benefits to developers of robotic surgical systems, military and industrial HMDs as well as other head-worn display applications.
On Chu’s next horizon, the company is working on taking its technology beyond near-eye display applications, moving to larger substrates to offer all of its embedded sensor functionalities on full screen sizes.
Another long term goal of the startup is to integrate all of the above functionalities together with a polarizer, micro-lenses and the cover glass into a thin foldable display. This approach marketed as O’flex (for Origami Flexible Electronics) uses the same proprietary deposition process. Chu claims that while other companies have demonstrated flexible displays, there is still a lot of improvements to be made and this represents a substantial business opportunity for INT Tech.
Questioned about the emergence of microLED displays, Chu does not see them going mainstream due to their uncompetitive cost/performance ratio compared to UHPD displays which he hopes will eventually proliferate.
INT Tech is on track to be listed on the Taiwanese market, but because the liquidity is very limited there for the emerging stock market, the startup will seek investors to raise a first round of funding in the first quarter of 2019. The company is also seeking partners to create joint ventures for particular product developments, such as UltraDisplay formed back in 2017 with AMOLED driver IC manufacturer UltraChip.
Since then, UltraDisplay has become an AMOLED driver IC design house for major AMOLED manufacturers.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.