Better Displays = Better Battery Life

Those of you who passed on the frame rate trick we covered a little while back to extend your video-playing device's battery life might find this next story more interesting. Unipixel, a startup company based in Woodlands, TX, has developed a new design for a handheld display that it claims is 60% more efficient than conventional displays - one that would almost double the battery life of a cell phone (such as Apple's iPhone).

Where Unipixel's display differentiates itself from its competitors is not in the technology itself - the company uses most of the components found in current displays, such as LEDs - but in how it arranges them to provide a more energy efficient, high-contrast picture. Unlike existing technologies, which typically only allow a small fraction of light to enter displays to produce an image (around 5%), Unipixel's displays enable 61% of the light to go through. This is accomplished by taking out all the filters and backlight typically found in liquid-crystal displays and illuminating the screen by using LEDs along its edge. Unipixel uses a technique known as frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) to bend incoming light toward the viewer, producing an image. While most liquid-crystal display technologies consist of 3 subpixels - red, green and blue - that cooperate to create a range of colors, Unipixel's display instead relies on red, green and blue LEDs placed at the edge of screen. Because they flash at such a rapid clip, the viewer perceives a range of colors as extensive as that found in liquid-crystal displays.

According to Jeff Han, a researcher at NYU and the founder of Perceptive Pixel, most of today's display technologies "throw away so much light." Though Unipixel's underlying technology is principally sound, its implementation and roll out will determine its future success. The company is still several years away from a tangible product, but it hopes to take advantage of coming developments and new materials to keep up with the industry. Its initial focus will be on making displays for handheld devices, but it predicts its technology should eventually work for larger displays as well.

Via ::Technology Review: More-Efficient Phone Displays (news website)

See also: ::New OLED Displays Use 40% Less Power, ::LED Backlighting: Brighter, Energy Efficient Displays

Tags: Texas


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