Chris Chinnock, Insight Media
Kopin has issued a press release announcing the development of a micro-OLED display with 35,000 nits of green luminance, which I think is world record for a micro-OLED display, but please let me know if I am wrong. While monochrome green is not the solution for all AR applications, it is certainly fine for many applications in defense and industrial markets.
Not only is the luminance level a milestone, but I believe the ability to drive the display with 14-bit gray scale is also an industry first. This is now clearly in High Dynamic Range (HDR) territory, but is it really useful? This is a valid question to ask for a couple of reasons.
First, can the imaging sensors that provide the monochrome data offer this much dynamic range as source content? For sophisticated headsets with more advanced sensors, as would be used in the above-mentioned markets and applications, this HDR capability will be able to match the required detail.
Secondly, the big advantage of an HDR display is the ability to show brighter and dimmer details. Here, the ability to see those details depends upon how code values are assigned over the very low luminance range. With too few code values, details will be lost. I asked Kopin about this issue and was told that the display has a programmable Look-up Table (LUT) to set the code values instead of a standard gamma curve or PQ EOTF to determine the gray scale performance.
The picture below shows the new micro-OLED display. Unfortunately, I think the dynamic range of the camera is limited which is why the highlights look blown out and the dark details crushed.
It appears from Kopin’s press release that this display was developed for a specific customer, and we shall see which application it will be used for. I expect other customers with advanced headsets will be interested in adopting this new capability. In any case, it is clear that Kopin has broken through several hurdles to bring a new level of performance to OLED microdisplays.