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Movement tracking LCD developed

Movement tracking LCD developed

Future LCD could track your licks... err, I mean movements.

An LCD screen that will track a user's movements and then make adjustments accordingly to give an optimal picture has been developed by researchers at a Taiwanese university.

The display uses a miniature camera to track the user's position and then will adjust the orientation of the liquid crystals and supply voltage of LEDs in the display. The claimed results are sharper and clearer images when viewing the screen from various angles.

Infra-red sensors that track eye movements of users are being developed as an improvement to the original design.

With further development of either could have a great impact on the LCD market and help improve the displays of portable devices.

This could be a great step indeed if the displays are put into use in laptops or mobile phones. A wider viewing angle could allow a user to work from their laptop in a variety of positions that are sometimes impossible or just a complete pain with some current displays.

What if more then one person is looking at the display at the same time? Is the display capable of adjusting for multiple users or is it just a single user application for now? These questions are currently unanswered but hopefully we'll hear more about this development shortly.

If this is just a one person application, then it could benefit lots of you out there just as well. Imagine just what you could get away with at work if your display adjusted itself to only be visible to you. You could view bit-tech and all of your other favourite sites to your heart's content. As long as they don't monitor your web browsing, that is.

Hey, at least there's still Solitaire.

Would a laptop, mobile phone, or even a desktop display be more usable if it could adjust itself to give you a great picture no matter what angle you looked at it from? Let us know down in the comments or over in the forums.

16 Comments

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Bauul 8th August 2007, 10:21 Quote
To be honest, other than the very first generation of LCDs, I've never really had a problem with viewing angles. Maybe it's just because I'm so used to the limitations of the displays I automatically avoid trying to view them from bad angles, but I can't actually remember the last time I thought "Darn, if only the viewing angle was a few degrees wider!". How often are you peering at an LCD from the side anyway? Even if adjusted crystals, the perspective itself is going to limit how much you can see. Seems a big, expensive solution for a relatively minor problem imho.
Krikkit 8th August 2007, 10:43 Quote
While it might not be so useful for normal people, I can see this being useful for surgeons and other critical applications where an image being distorted because you're not quite at the right viewing angle could be dangerous. I know it's not much, but there we go.

To be honest I think this might've just been one of those research projects stemming from "Can we do this..?"
riggs 8th August 2007, 10:49 Quote
Sounds...cool.

Not really interested in the image improvements it'd offer though - my initial thought was whether the infra-red camera wotnot could be tied to in-game effects like depth of field? That'd be awesome!

[off on a tangent]
So, if you're looking at an object on screen in the distance, the camera recognises this and sends the info (screen co-ordinates) to the game. Said object appears clear, while anything in front or behind (on the Z axis) has the depth of field effect applied in various levels, depending on it's distance from the focal point (ie, stuff gets more blurred the further it is).

Ooh, how about NPC character interaction in RPGs? Making eye contact whilst conversing with NPCs could increase your chances of sweet talking them. But staring at their polygon-boobs will result in a virtual slap!

I'm probably talking nonsense, but it'd be the next step in gaming (imo). If someone could pull it off for a reasonable price, I'd buy it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Seems a big, expensive solution for a relatively minor problem imho.
QFT.
K.I.T.T. 8th August 2007, 10:52 Quote
Just an idea, but if its adjusting the crystal alignment and backlight of the panel so that its in the optimal configuration for your current position could this not lead to a reduction in power consumption as parts of the backlight that aren't needed or aren't needed as bright will be turned down or off.

Its an interesting thing, i imagine it'll just happen though, no-one will really notice that the new technology has arrived.
CardJoe 8th August 2007, 11:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
To be honest, other than the very first generation of LCDs, I've never really had a problem with viewing angles. Maybe it's just because I'm so used to the limitations of the displays I automatically avoid trying to view them from bad angles, but I can't actually remember the last time I thought "Darn, if only the viewing angle was a few degrees wider!". How often are you peering at an LCD from the side anyway? Even if adjusted crystals, the perspective itself is going to limit how much you can see. Seems a big, expensive solution for a relatively minor problem imho.

QFT + 1
Morphine-Kitty 8th August 2007, 11:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by riggs
Ooh, how about NPC character interaction in RPGs? Making eye contact whilst conversing with NPCs could increase your chances of sweet talking them. But staring at their polygon-boobs will result in a virtual slap!

Now that would be amazing.
Joeymac 8th August 2007, 11:46 Quote
The possibilities for proper tracking of what people are looking at is really cool... the end of mice and whatever... but this isn't that.
As has been said. It seems a bit pointless. If they were doing this 4 or 5 years ago then it might have a use, but now, it just seems like they should be fixing the viewing angle limitations of LCD in general; rather than doing a "paper over the cracks" fix to the problem... and it's not that big of a problem. Hell you could bolt a webcam (if there isn't one there already) to the top of the display, add a servo motor to the base and then write some software with face tracking to rotates it a bit.... wouldn't cost a thing.
mclean007 8th August 2007, 12:45 Quote
Holy overengineered solution to a problem that only affects LCD screens from the stone age, Batman!

Tracking a user's eye position has a HUGE range of uses, but minutely adjusting the crystals to minimally improve the already perfectly acceptable viewing angle on today's LCDs is not one of them. As a previous poster noted, viewing angles now are so good that the limitation on usable angle isn't the LCD technology but simple geometry - even a screen with perfect 180 degree viewing angles would be unpleasant to use from >60 degrees off-centre because of the perspective distortion.

Some of the suggested uses are pretty cool, but rely on much more accurate tracking of eyeline (e.g. depth of field, eye-contact). However, even within the limitations of simple head position tracking (as required for the LCD micro-adjustments proposed in the article), you could have a pseudo-3D effect so that as you move your head the software changes what is displayed. It would be like looking through a smallish window - move your head to the right and you can see more of what's off to the left and vice versa. You could peer round corners in a FPS by moving your head to the side and closer to the screen, for example. If the character model's head tracked your movements, he would actually crane around the corner as you moved your head, so your multiplayer opponents would see him peeping and BOOM! Headshot!
kenco_uk 8th August 2007, 13:39 Quote
I thought they did this with a crt tv ages ago - one that rotated to follow you round the room?
Smilodon 8th August 2007, 18:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
<snip>

You could peer round corners in a FPS by moving your head to the side and closer to the screen, for example. If the character model's head tracked your movements, he would actually crane around the corner as you moved your head, so your multiplayer opponents would see him peeping and BOOM! Headshot!

I find myself doing that sometimes... Doesn't work though..
Veles 8th August 2007, 19:31 Quote
Seems a bit pointless to me too, I've also not had viewing angle problems in a long time on a regular monitor (although sometimes on crappy quality camera LCD screens). If I look at my monitor at an angle, I can't actually see the screen very well before the viewing angle problem kicks in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
You could peer round corners in a FPS by moving your head to the side and closer to the screen, for example. If the character model's head tracked your movements, he would actually crane around the corner as you moved your head, so your multiplayer opponents would see him peeping and BOOM! Headshot!

Problem with that though, if you try to peer round a corner like that, you'll no longer be looking at the screen.
bloodcar 8th August 2007, 20:15 Quote
If this is made to where a monitor is only visable to the user that it's tracking, then that would be awesome. Just imagine, being able to txt on your phone or use your laptop on a bus or train without having nosy seat neighbors watching what you do.
Nexxo 8th August 2007, 20:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Holy overengineered solution to a problem that only affects LCD screens from the stone age, Batman!

My feelings exactly. And just how much effort does it take to slightly tilt your mobile or PDA, or angle your laptop screen?
Bauul 8th August 2007, 22:32 Quote
Using this technology for in game related effects would be excellent! Imagine the monitor detecting which object on screen you're looking at, and the depth of field so only that plane of view was in focus. I also like the idea of small movements as a result of moving left and right, kind of like the effect of looking at a hologram, but it'd be very tricky to pull off accurately, and if there was a slight dicrepency between you're movements and the response on screen it'd ruin the entire illusion.
Constructacon 9th August 2007, 03:01 Quote
What about instances where you are angling your device to compensate for glare or reflections on your screen. Could this "auto calibration" actually have a negative impact on your viewing experience?
completemadness 10th August 2007, 02:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constructacon
What about instances where you are angling your device to compensate for glare or reflections on your screen. Could this "auto calibration" actually have a negative impact on your viewing experience?
no because the screens surface itself isn't going to change, but the crystals below would

I think you actually suggest the single time when this technology might actually be useful
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