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World’s First Large-Scale Spherical OLED Screen Developed in Japan

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Spherical displays people see in malls and sporting events use an interconnected series of light emitting diodes (LEDs) to project various images, graphics and patterns. Although such scenes are amusing to see, the quality of images projected are not that comparable to what one can view on their TV screens. Now, imagine viewing high definition video images of the earth and all its geographical wonders and beauty, not on a flat TV screen – but on a display screen with the shape of the earth itself.

This is what Mitsubishi Electric previously accomplished when it installed a six-meter Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) globe at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo to commemorate its 10th anniversary. Called the Geo-Cosmos display, the large-scale spherical OLED screen is the world’s first and was built from 10,362 pcs of 96x96 millimeter OLED panels attached to an aluminum spheroid structure.

Understanding OLED Technologies

During the last decade, advances in Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) and Plasma screen technologies have revolutionized the quality of displays for both computer and multimedia use. With new technologies such as Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screens, display technologies are brought to even higher levels of efficiency, flexibility and mobility never before possible with traditional TV screens.

OLED displays project brighter and clearer images with good contrast even at large viewing angles. Aside from that, OLEDs consume less power than LCDs which make it a more viable option for large scale use. OLED screens use organic materials that already have self-luminescent properties – they generate their own light which means there is no need for a backlight for illumination as in the case of LCD displays. This characteristic of OLEDs makes it possible to create flexible display of all shapes and contours and its intrinsically wide viewing angle make it suitable to display images even if the display is formed into a sphere.

Large-Scale Spherical Screens and Other Possibilities for OLED

The Geo-Cosmos OLED globe was created by a team formed by Mitsubishi Electric with three other companies including Dentsu Incorporated, Go and Partners Inc. and GK Tech Inc. which handled certain aspects of the globe’s construction including project planning, image processing and transmission, and the spheroid design. With a resolution of over 10 million pixels, which is ten times higher than current LCD display capabilities, the OLED globe is expected to display a truly awesome projection of the earth and other images.

Previously, display globes of this magnitude were formed using light emitting diodes but the quality of display is nowhere near the high definition, clarity and contrast that OLEDs can provide. To commemorate the museum’s 10th anniversary, the new OLED globe created by Mitsubishi Electric will display clouds and other earth sceneries taken from an orbiting meteorological satellite. Viewed from a large scale spherical screen, museum visitors and other spectators will be treated with a different kind of perspective in viewing earth scenes – a totally different experience from what they have seen on their flat TV screens or in the movies.

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