Connect with us

Research

The foldable phone screen is the tech trend of 2019 — here’s how it works

Published

on

  • Flexible phone screens have been in development for the past six years, but only recently have some screens become foldable.
  • Foldable phones are based on flexible display technology, which is built around OLED screens. We’re seeing flexible display technology emerging from Samsung and Huawei .
  • Watch the video above to learn how foldable screens work.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Troy Wolverton: There has been this development of flexible screens. They’ve been in the works for a while now, and in fact, the first phones that were based on flexible screens actually appeared about six years ago. But there wasn’t anything super remarkable about them. They only way you’d know that they had a flexible screen within them is that they had curved edges on their displays.

What’s happening now is that not only do these phones have curved edges, but they’re able to actually be folded. Foldable phones are based on flexible display technology, which is built around OLED screens. So most of the screens that we see in our lives are LCD screens. They’re liquid crystal displays, and they are typically built around a glass base. You have a glass screen or a glass backing for the LCD display.

One of the things that happens with an OLED screen is that the pixels, the light portion of the screen that emits light or that displays an image, is actually built into the screen itself. So the LEDs are on the actual screen technology instead of being behind it and projecting through a glass pane. What’s happening with flexible displays is that they have this OLED screen technology that’s being printed on a thin layer of plastic. When you’ve got that thin layer of plastic, you can do all kinds of things with it. You can bend it, or you can shape it in different ways.

The way it’s been used in the past in phones such as the iPhone X is that it is bent around the edges so the iPhone X has actually a flexible display in it. You can’t really tell, but if you were to open up the iPhone X, you would see that at the edge of the display, it’s actually bent. The big property that you can do with these screens though is that you can actually fold the screen in half, the display part of the screen. That’s what’s happening with the Galaxy Fold. You’ve got a large screen, OLED screen, that’s built on a plastic base, and if you want to, you can unfold the display, and you can see a larger screen, or you can fold it up, and you can see a smaller one. Getting to larger OLED screens though is an expensive proposition, and so for instance the Galaxy Fold phone, which has this larger OLED screen, is going to cost $2,000. And in part that’s almost certainly a function at least in part of the OLED screen technology that they’re using.

One of the interesting things about an OLED screen, about these flexible displays that are being used in these foldable phones, is that there isn’t a glass pane on top of it. Maybe that sounds obvious, but it isn’t necessarily an obvious thing. So what that means is that when you touch and interact with that screen, that Samsung Fold screen, you’re not touching a pane of glass when you’re interacting with that screen. You’re touching the actual screen itself, which is a thin plastic display.

Some concerns that that screen might be damaged more easily or might be scratched. We’re going to have to see, like, how that works out in long-term testing. Another potential problem that you can have is that the screen could be damaged from multiple folds. If you keep folding it over and over and over again, that might wear down. OLED screens, these flexible screen technologies, in some ways are superior to the kind of LCD screen that you get in other phones or other displays.

The designs right now are fairly clunky. They don’t necessarily appeal to all consumers. But I think, yeah, over time I think that you’re going to see an improvement in designs, you’re going to see the prices come down, and you’re going to see this become a much more mass-marketed device. And so I think eventually you could see these becoming the mainstream smartphone.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Research

Physicists Just Smashed an Insane Record of Particle Acceleration in a Plasma Channel

Published

on

By

In a breathtaking achievement, physicists have shattered the world record for particle acceleration. In just 20 centimetres (8 inches), they have increased the acceleration of electron beams from 0 to a whopping 7.8 billion electron volts (GeV).

This nearly doubles the team’s previous energy gain of 4.2 GeV over 9 centimetres, demonstrating a way to vastly improve plasma wakefield acceleration.

High energy particle accelerators are vital for better understanding the particles our Universe is made of, but they also have some pretty hefty limitations, especially in terms of size and cost. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) consists of a vacuum tunnel buried deep underground, with a circumference of 26.7 kilometres (16.6 mi).

Along the tunnel, metallic chambers are spaced at intervals to generate radiofrequency waves, which transfer energy to the particles passing by to give them a velocity boost, with each radiofrequency chamber delivering an accelerating field of 5 million volts per metre (5MV/m) to ultimately deliver speeds close to that of light in a vacuum.

Last year, physicists at CERN announced that, using a developing technology called plasma wakefield acceleration, they’d achieved an acceleration gradient of 200 MV/m. That resulted in an acceleration to nearly 2 GeV in 10 metres.

It works just like wakesurfing. Laser pulses are used to generate plasma waves with electromagnetic fields that can be thousands of times stronger than radiofrequency fields. Then, just as a wakesurfer can use the waves generated in the wake of a boat to accelerate, particles can ‘surf’ the plasma waves to gain energy.

To improve on this, physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory designed and incorporated a plasma waveguide. These, the researchers wrote in their paper, “can be used to mitigate laser diffraction of focused laser pulses, which increases the acceleration length and the energy gain for a given laser power.”

This work was the achievement behind the previous 4.2 GeV result in 2014; now, the team has improved on their methods.

In a sapphire tube filled with gas, an electrical discharge is triggered to create plasma. Then, a “heater” laser pulse is used to drill out some of the gas from the centre of the plasma, lowering the density, which focuses the laser light.

This plasma channel is then strong enough to keep the laser pulses confined over the length of the accelerator. Subsequent “driver” laser pulses generate waves in the plasma. Electrons in the plasma then hitch a ride, surfing the length of the sapphire tube.

In the previous experiment, the density of the plasma caused the laser to lose its focus along the length of capillary, resulting in damage to the sapphire tube.

“The heater beam allowed us to control the propagation of the driver laser pulse,” said physicist  Anthony Gonsalves of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“The next experiments will aim to gain precision control over electron injection into the plasma wave for achieving unprecedented beam quality, and to couple multiple stages together to demonstrate the path to even higher energy.”

The research will be presented at the 61st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics this week, and appeared in Physical Review Letters earlier this year.

Source: https://www.sciencealert.com/electrons-hit-record-acceleration-from-0-to-7-8-gigaelectronvolts-in-20-centimetres

Continue Reading

Research

Apple’s iOS 13 is running on 50 percent of all iPhones after three weeks

Published

on

By

Apple’s iOS 13 update may have been riddled with bugs over the course of its first few weeks post-release, but that hasn’t had a meaningful impact on user adoption. According to the company, more than 50 percent of all iPhones were running iOS 13 just 26 days after launch. That’s slower than iOS 12, which took just 23 days to hit 50 percent, but not by much. If you count only iPhones purchased in the last four years, the figure jumps up to 55 percent.

The numbers look even better — vis a vis Android — when you take into account that most other phones are running iOS 12. Of all iPhones currently accessing the App Store, which is how Apple checks these numbers, 41 percent are using iOS 12 and just 9 percent are using an earlier mobile OS. For devices four years old and younger, 38 percent are running iOS 12 and just 7 percent are running an older OS. For iPadOS, the numbers are slightly lower, with 33 percent of all iPads running the new OS and 41 percent of newer iPads running it.

While these adoption rates may have slowed from last year, Apple is still miles ahead of Google in this regard, thanks to its tight integration of hardware and software that Google has never been able to replicate with Android. In fact, Google seems to have stopped reporting adoption rates recently, so we don’t know how many devices have Android 10 installed.

Last time Google checked in on that front, in May of this year, we knew that Android 9 Pie was installed on just 10.4 percent of all Android devices worldwide. For other versions, the rate spans spans 15 percent to 30 percent for versions as far back as Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is still running on 14.5 percent of all Android phones. At the time, Android 8.0 Oreo held the crown at the time with 27 percent of all devices. But the wide variety of years-old versions each serving millions upon millions of phones remains a bad look for Android fragmentation, a problem Google has all but given up on solving.

So whatever trepidation Apple fans may have had about the bugs and overall inconsistency with iPhone software, it doesn’t seem to have translated into action. As The Verge’s Dieter Bohn points out in his piece about holding off on installing macOS Catalina, he makes the smart point that phone updates are low risk and high reward, whereas the same is not true of desktop and laptop OS updates, where you may inadvertently affect your ability to get real work done. Looks like most iPhone owners agree.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/16/20918359/apple-iphone-11-pro-ios-13-adoption-rate-google-android-10

Continue Reading

Research

How 5G could improve augmented reality

Published

on

By

We all know by now that 5G is going to be a big deal. The next generation mobile network will provide ubiquitous gigabit connection speeds, extremely low latency and unrestricted capacity.

In fact, it’s rather difficult to imagine a modern industry that won’t be positively affected by 5G’s arrival.

When it comes to augmented reality, however, 5G looks set to be more transformational than most. Indeed, 5G could prove instrumental to augmented reality finally hitting the mainstream.

Let’s first clarify what we mean when we talk about ‘augmented reality’. AR, as it’s commonly known as, is the art and science of overlaying virtual information onto a live view of the real world.

While virtual reality (VR) creates a completely enclosed, self-contained 3D virtual world that a person can fully immerse themselves in, AR seeks to enhance or indeed augment our perception of the physical environment around us.

Augmented reality is already firmly embedded in our culture, from the heads-up displays (HUDs) in a fighter pilot’s cockpit to the live selfie effects of Snapchat and Facebook. But 5G’s arrival heralds a whole new wave of deeply integrated, highly social AR experiences.

Statista estimates that the value of the AR market will rise from $5.91 billion in 2018 to $198.17 billion in 2025 – it’s no coincidence that this rise will coincide with the rollout of 5G networks.

Augmenting reality

As we’ve hinted at already, augmented reality isn’t a new or cutting edge technology. We already have the means to create convincing AR experiences, but it’s an extremely hardware-intensive process.

Embedding virtual components in a real world view requires powerful processors, sharp cameras, a range of advanced sensors, and some serious software smarts. In short, the best AR apps crunch a lot of numbers.

What’s more, that data needs to be rendered in real time in order to produce a convincingly smooth and responsive AR experience. Immersion is everything with AR, to the point where any performance shortfall can be ruinous to the experience.

The huge amount of data being processed in real time means that modern mobile AR applications are very localized, essentially ‘offline’ affairs. Not only does this necessitate powerful mobile devices, it limits the scope of the AR experiences too.

Our current 4G networks simply don’t have the capacity to bear the weight of more connected or shared AR experiences, nor do they have the required low latency – that is, the time between an input and data being sent in response – for real time responsiveness.

What 5G brings to the AR table

It’s here that 5G will be able to take AR to the next level. The next generation mobile network will massively increase capacity and lower latency. ABI Research predicts that 5G will provide a “10X increase in throughput, 10X decrease in latency, and 100X increase in traffic capacity” over 4G, which will mean that “5G will not only improve, but will also be a requirement for some of the most exciting AR and VR applications”.

In such an environment, existing AR applications would be able to offload much of the intensive processing to the cloud, opening AR applications out to new, smaller, more energy efficient and cheaper form factors.

While the Google Glass project appeared to be halted several years ago (it wasn’t, but we’ll come to that), the prospect of a truly wearable, permanently accessible AR device hasn’t gone away. It was just hibernating until the technology could be refined, part of which involves a sufficiently capable mobile network.

The nature of AR applications will also grow more sophisticated, with truly shared and social real time augmented reality experiences. The transmitting of AR-enhanced live events could be one example.

This synergy between AR and 5G will also expand the potential for remote control drone and robot operation through enhanced HUDs (Heads Up Displays) and improved haptic feedback. Indeed, this lofty concept of the so-called ‘Tactile Internet’ is expected to kickstart the fourth industrial revolution.

That might sound lofty, but cutting edge researchers such as South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute predict just such an eventuality. In January 2019, it was announced that ETRI had developed a 5G-based technology that would enable AR applications to send and receive packets of data at speeds that match human perception.

“We will see robots, cars and all other machines connected to the Internet all around us,” said ETRI team leader HwanSeok Chung. “[The] Tactile Internet will enable humans and machines to interact with each other even from far away.”

AR and you

Talk of the Tactile Internet is all well and good, but you might ask how 5G-enhanced augmented reality is set to benefit the average user over the coming years.

The first thing to note is that the framework is there for massive advances in everyday AR applications. Both Google and Apple, gatekeepers to the two biggest smartphone platforms in the world, are investing heavily in AR. Apple announced its ARKit framework in June 2017, while Google announced its own ARCore in August 2017.

AR computation has been a core component of two generations of iOS and Android devices now, and there are countless AR-enhanced applications on their respective platforms. But the two companies have huge plans beyond the current status quo.

It’s widely expected that Apple will have some big things to say about AR at its next WWDC event from June 3, including potential macOS and iOS support for AR headsets. 

It’s long been rumored that Apple is working on its own set of AR glasses, which could prove a huge boost to AR’s mainstream acceptance. You only need to see the company’s dramatic effect on the adoption of smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches for evidence of that.

For its part, Google has been steadily ticking over in the background with its pioneering Google Glass project after an initial failed public run. The latest update comes in the form of the business-focused Glass Enterprise Edition 2, which now runs on Android and is powered by Qualcomm’s AR-focused XR1 chipset. 

On the software front, the company announced at Google I/O that it was adding 3D augmented reality models to its search results later this year.

Separately to this, Facebook is known to be investing heavily in augmented reality. Having played a major part in the related resurgence of VR through its Oculus Rift platform, the company is known to be working on its own advanced AR glasses. 

Facebook has also been steadily bringing AR features to its vast network of social platform ever since 2017, from Messenger to Instagram to Facebook ads. Through AR Studio, it’s also allowing third parties to get in on the act.

Microsoft has its own longstanding AR hardware project in the form of HoloLens, which has yielded some of the most impressive (though alas not commercially available) AR applications of the current era – including an augmented reality version of Minecraft. 

Talking of Minecraft and AR, Microsoft recently announced the Minecraft Earth mobile game, which could well prove to be the true breakout moment for AR gaming.

Make no mistake, AR is set to enter a whole new phase of mainstream acceptance in industry, on our phones, and through a whole new class of personal devices – and 5G is going to be at the very heart of the revolution.

5G Uncovered, in association with Samsung, brings you everything you need to know about the next wave of connectivity – not just how fast it’s going to be, but in just how many ways it’s going to change your life. Our 5G Uncovered hub is carefully curated to show everything there is to know about the next generation of connection.   

Source: https://www.techradar.com/news/how-5g-could-improve-augmented-reality

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

%d bloggers like this: