Although not suited for a large audience, an ultra-wide curved display from Ostendo Technologies (Carlsbad, CA) creates a more-immersive world for one or a small group of close-up viewers. Modern computer displays of all types normally take the cue for their frontal shape from the venerable CRT (cathode-ray tube), which is substantially (although not completely) flat. The result: even the newest, thinnest display technologies all seem to end up planar. But the "flat-panel display" is simply not the best shape for a computer user, especially one who wants to sit there immersed in the virtual world that is made possible by the gargantuan screens of today.
Ostendo Technology's solution to the image distortion caused by a large, nearby display is to curve the screen around the viewer--creating an undistorted image while completely removing the limitation on horizontal size. The company featured prototypes of its so-called CRVD display at MacWorld in San Francisco and at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, and is demonstrating the product at this year's Society of Information Display (SID; May 20-22, 2008) Exhibition in Los Angeles; the display is being exhibited at the OSRAM Opto Semiconductors' booth. The CRVD display has a 42.4" diagonal and provides a 2880 x 900 pixel resolution (double WXGA+), greater than 300 nits of brightness, and a contrast ratio of greater than 10,000:1, and relies on the DLP image-creating MEMS (microelectromechanical-systems) engine developed by Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX).
Why would Ostendo want to exhibit its display at OSRAM's booth? Because OSRAM, which has developed ultrabright RGB LEDs (red-green-blue light-emitting diodes), is the company providing the backlighting. OSRAM's OSTAR-Projection modules, which each consist of six RGB LED chips, are the sources that make such a large a display with 300 nits of brightness (and billions of colors) possible. Tom Shottes, president and CEO of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors (Santa Clara, CA), comments that the two companies have been working together since Ostendo first began developing its technology.
Ostendo notes that its display is ideal for applications such as simulation, gaming, financial analysis, digital imaging, web-content creation or any desktop computing application that benefits from large amounts of undistorted imagery.
While all these applications can benefit from Ostendo's new, all-surrounding display, it is high-end PC gaming that could possibly be revolutionized--and gaming that could provide one of the largest markets. PC gamers are known for their extravagant desires in hardware: computers made by, for example, Alienware (Miami, FL) for gamers have processing power far beyond that ever needed by the normal home user.
With Ostendo now showing the way toward a totally immersive visual virtual world, other innovative companies can accelerate the development of immersive tactile computer input tools far beyond the keyboard or joystick, perhaps adding tactile feedback as well--working toward the creation of seamless synthetic worlds that grow more and more difficult to tell apart from the real one.