Google's VR vice president, Clay Bavor, revealed that Google has partnered with "one of the leading OLED makers" on a secret project to develop a high-end VR display. The OLED display will support a resolution of 20 million pixels per eye.
This is a very high resolution - a 4K display has 8.3 million pixels, so it means 2.5X the number of pixels in a 4K display. It terms of display density (which depends on the panel size of course, which we assume to be around 3.5"), this could be around 1,800 PPI.
A PPI of 1,800 is a lot - but in May 2016 Samsung already demonstrated a 5.5" 3840x2160 - which reaches 806 PPI. According to reports Samsung were able to produce a 1,200 PPI AMOLED in March 2017 - and the company's goal is to reach 1,500 PPI.
In November 2016 Sunic Systems announced that it developed an plane-source evaporation-FMM based AMOLED production process that can reach very high densities. The 100um mask announced in November can achieve a PPI of 1,500. This may be the system that Samsung is now testing. Sunic says that eventually this technology will enable even 2,250 PPI. This will certainly be enough to support Google's 20Mp target.
So a 1,500 PPI is certainly possible. A "leading OLED maker" is likely to be either Samsung Display or LG Display. Last month it was reported that Google wants to invest $872 million in LG Display in order to secure flexible OLED capacity from the Korean OLED maker.
Google also announced that it is developing a VR LCD display in collaboration with Sharp, with an aim to create an LCD with a high response time and high resolution. This will be interesting to watch - currently all high-end VD headsets adopt OLEDs, mostly due to the high response time.
Previously eMagin has tiled microdispays and so has Sensics - to achieve higher resolutions .
eMagin has a patent application for a manufacturing process which would eliminated seams when tilling micro displays .
LARGE AREA OLED MICRODISPLAY AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SAME FIELD OF THE INVENTION
eMagin could easily achieve 20 mp per eye by tiling or using the manufacturing process in the patent application as follows :
1. Their current 2k x 2k display = 4 mp . Making a slightly larger display at 2.25k x 2.25 k = 5mp
Tiiling 4 - 2.25k displays or combining them as per the manufacturing patent app = 20 mp .
2. eMagin has talked about a 4k x 4k resolution display at their 1Q 2016 CC :
"We're also looking to build the prototype display that is 35 millimeters by 35 millimeters, which we could design with a resolution up to 4,000 by 4,000. We're discussing this display with potential foundry partners and we’ll bring the proposal to a half dozen likely customers who are looking for displays of this type. The customers with whom we've discussed this display are very interested in our proposal."
4k x 4k = 16 mp
A slightly larger display at 4.5k x 4.5 k = 20 mp
The dimensions of a 4.5k x 4.5k display would be calculated by taking pixel spacing a 9.3 microns x 4.5k = a 1.65" x 1.65" display . This display could be used with their current optics - pancake lens w/ fiber optic faceplate - to achieve a FOV larger than the 2k x 2k prototype of 110 degrees
20mp per eye in a compact form factor is easily within eMagin's reach IMO
Another thing that may be relevant is that Jerry Carollo who helped developed the eMagin "steam punk " prototype with 2k x 2k resolution , is now Optical Architect at Google .
Special Projects; System architect and inventor of the "Steam Punk" Virtual Reality goggle. The VR goggle has a 100 degree Field of View (FOV), 2K x 2K resolution in a very compact light weight form factor is the highest performance VR HMD ever produced.
Google and Sharp team up on LCDs for virtual reality
- another indication Google may choose to consider eMagin as they look for alternative sources to Samsung OLED .
Thanks Frank, this is certainly interesting and I agree that eMagin should not be ruled out. It is certainly a leading OLED developer. It will be great to see Google use eMagin's technology in a future HMD!