Keynotes Inspire With Display Technology, Virtual Reality, and Autonomous Autos
By Tom Fiske
The SID Symposium and Exhibition part of Display Week opened this morning with a strong set of keynote presentations. Paul Peng, Chairman and CEO of AU Optronics Corp., started off the keynote session with AUO’s view of past, present, and future display technology directions. He used Chinese history as an analog of the progression of the display industry, with periodic new “kingdoms” forming and merging, dominating, breaking up, and re-aligning. His focus, understandably, was TFT LCD technology, since this represents the majority of AUO’s portfolio. He gave an overview of AUO’s TV and automotive applications and the advantages, from a “green” perspective, of the TFT LCD manufacturing process over that of OLED displays. In fact, he seemed a bit dismissive of OLED technology in general, consigning it to the “niche” applications of mobile, wearable, and eyepiece displays.
The second keynote was given by Clay Bavor, VP of Virtual Reality at Google. His presentation was polished and created a compelling narrative around Google’s work in the AR/VR field. Google is building platforms for VR such as Cardboard and Daydream (smartphone- and standalone-based VR). The company works on apps that creatively exploit VR (e.g. Google Earth and Tilt Brush, a paint app that allows users to create in 3D space). It makes supporting building blocks that serve the “infrastructure” for VR apps (e.g. Worldsense and Jump, which map the world and capture real-world content, respectively). Bavor gave a realistic assessment of what needs to get better to create a compelling VR and AR experience – namely, everything (HW, SW, display, GPU, CPU, power management, etc.). A couple of cool advances he discussed are reduced latency displays (using a rolling backlight strobing method), and “foveated rendering” that only updates the portion of the display at which the user is looking. This uses eye-tracking and selective display updating to reduce data transfer rates. Google is definitely positioning itself to catch the wave of AR/VR.
The session wrapped with a talk by Sanjay Dhawan, President, Connected Services, of Harman International. He spoke on “Humanizing the Autonomous Car Experience.” Today’s automobile systems are not very well integrated and lead to a disjointed driver experience – GPS maps and cruise control aren’t aware of each other, for instance. The future will bring convergence of various systems so that they are driver-centric and support driver tasks with features like voice interaction and haptic feedback. Connectivity among vehicles and between vehicles and the cloud will serve the user by enabling autonomous driving features, remote vehicle servicing, and content personalization. There’s clearly a lot of opportunity to optimize the driver/passenger experience, and Harman is a key player in bringing this to fruition.