Limiting colours could increase OLED power efficiency

A small research team over at the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia have been showing off their energy efficient OLED technology, which if used in future displays could decrease battery usage by up to 40%.

While the current market has been over taken by LCD screens in all sorts of forms, researchers have been working hard on developing, and prototyping, a way to increase the efficiency of the OLED screen. They have been devising a way that decreases the amount of colours displayed on the screen at any one time by limiting the palette used by each pixel to make the image seen by the user while keeping most of the detail intact.

Current day LCD panels use a backlight system that is always on, which in turn is using the same amount of energy across the screen, OLED technology however works differently as each pixel is its own light source, and as such different colours use different amounts of energy.The researchers at the university took advantage of the OLED technology collecting data on the energy consumption of each colour used, from that they were able to use a subset that managed to give savings of up to 40% depending on what was being shown on the screen.

David Borland who was involved in the research project commented, "It could potentially be useful for mobile devices," which could significantly increase the battery life of mobile devices.

Johnson Chuang, the project lead, adds "Say you're running low on battery and you want to use Google maps to get home," says Chuang. "Switching to an energy-aware colour set could make your battery last longer." However, it is noted that currently only a few colours have been used for the process, mostly red and greens, and that some details are still lost in the process.

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20 Comments

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might not be loss of detail... but going by their sample images, there is definatly loss of contrast.... making it a little harder to see the detail

+1 my thoughts exactly but if it helps my cell phone go two weeks between charges i don't realy care, it's a phone people not a bleedin media centre

Another fail thanks to the damn "green" movement. We want true color, not reduced color! "It could potentially be useful for mobile devices" -- Yeh, ONLY mobile devices. lol

IntelliMoo said,
Another fail thanks to the damn "green" movement. We want true color, not reduced color! "It could potentially be useful for mobile devices"

.... the hell?

Frankly, I can't think of words to describe the utter stupidity of that comment.

You do realise books are printed in black and white, right? Do you not buy them because they're not "true colour"?

Alright, but this has only been tested with a few colors (Reds and greens), so it really doesn't mean anything at this point... It sounds like they really jumped the gun on this article... Or even announcing these findings... Silly.

Considering it is a science discovery and not a new product announcement, it is never too early to "jump the gun" when you're publishing re-producible results.

M_Lyons10 said,
Alright, but this has only been tested with a few colors (Reds and greens), so it really doesn't mean anything at this point... It sounds like they really jumped the gun on this article... Or even announcing these findings... Silly.

Just because something isn't shown as full colour doesn't make it "useless".

Text is printed in black and white. Maps use a specific set of colours. Many many things do not need a full range of colours.

And that's beside the point made by smithy that this is research.

That's a big improvement for a small change. Well, I guess that's up to personal preference. I think a lot of detail is lost to gain savings of up to 40%. Red looks like orange and blue looks like purple.

LOL i can see it now loose weight buy a new 99% fat free Phone thanks to new light sauce call jenny craig / weight watchers now to recieve your phone today for a low $9.95 per week (food not included)