Samsung filed an interesting trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office recently which suggests the company is working on a new AMOLED display for VR that specifically addresses the screen door effect (SDE).
The screen door effect is a visual artifact of displays such as those used in the Rift and Vive. Because there are unlit gaps between pixels or subpixels, they can become more visible when viewed under VR optics, creating unsightly grid-like lines which appear like fine linen mesh, or screen doors between the user and the content.
Uncovered by Dutch website GalaxyClub.nl, the Korean tech giant applied for the name ‘Anti SDE AMOLED’ last Friday. There isn’t any supporting information outside the actual name of the supposed display, but considering it directly references SDE, it’s very likely the company is taking its next step in making more VR-specific hardware.
There’s a number of ways to reduce SDE in VR headsets. One way is by creating higher ‘fill factor’ panels, which reduces the spaces between pixels and subpixels. Packing in the pixels at a high PPI (pixel per inch) density, while not a guaranteed way to reduce perceived SDE, does help overall as well. Like with OSVR HDK2, panel makers can also apply a diffusion layer on top of the display, which diffuses light emitted by pixels in order to compensate for the unlit spaces between them (less desirable because it reduces clarity).
Healthy speculation: Samsung showed off a 2.43-inch, 3,840 × 2,160 resolution (120Hz) panel at SID Display Week in May, which featured 1,200 PPI – a clear 2.6 times higher PPI than Rift or Vive’s 460 PPI. It’s possible the company is basing their work off this prototype with the intention of bringing it to market via other manufacturers (Vive Pro contains Samsung displays), or use it in their own bespoke VR headset. Again, we just don’t know, but we’ll certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for a what could be a solution to the screen door effect.