Sharp team members and the Field Sequential Display prototype

Sharp and the Field Sequential Display prototype at ISE 2017 - what is it?

Field Sequential Display (FSD) is an alternative display technology; we take a look at the prototype Sharp is showing at ISE and how it works.

The Integrated Systems Europe trade show is an annual event where Sharp highlights the exciting new display devices it will launch throughout the year.

It is also a great opportunity to show future technologies that the Research and Development teams within Sharp are working on. Last year we caught the imagination of visitors with a truly stunning 8K display, which won the best ISE product Award 2016. At ISE 2017 we are privileged to be showing a completely alternative form of display technology, in the form of Field Sequential Display.

Field Sequential Display is a technology which works very differently to other displays commercially available today, such as LCD, OLED and Plasma. The 17-inch panel on Sharp’s stand (Stand 12/E76) is a prototype device being developed in Japan that has the potential to be used in a wide range of applications, from digital signage to entertainment devices.

FSD is a technology that does away with the need for a colour filter or Phosphor colouring. But this is not the only way FSD differs from current display technologies.

Current LCD displays share a common feature in that they use three RGBs (Red, Green and Blue pixels) to simultaneously create an image, a back light located at the back of the display (which is always full on), and a colour filter that produces colours. This means the pixels are in constant use, and only five to seven per cent of the brightness actually reaches the front of the display because of the low efficiency of the LCD design.

By contrast, a Field Sequential Display reproduces RGB colours serially, so instead of each pixel being constantly active, each colour is created intermittently. What’s more, while LCD displays work on 60Hz, an FSD display works on 180Hz (i.e. 3 x 60Hz), which cannot be detected by the human eye, so making the image smoother and sharper.

The FSD prototype Sharp is showing has been further enhanced by the addition of a fourth colour cycle, i.e. a white component (with the combined glow of the three RGB diodes together). This radically increases the overall efficiency, brightness, and colour range of the display – also implying a working frequency of 240Hz.

Sharp’s FSD prototype is considered to be a hybrid device, as the sequential lighting illuminates onto a standard LCD front panel.

All these technology advances together make Field Sequential Display technology incredibly power efficient, while also presenting potential for very high brightness. This is because, unlike the LCD technology, the majority of the light emitted by the light source will ultimately be pushed to the front panel to create a sharp and bright image.

This also means less power is consumed overall by the FSD device, making it more ecologically sound.

Sharp is constantly developing and evaluating prototype displays across a range of technologies and Field Sequential Display is only one of area of research and development. Only time and further investment will reveal whether the FSD is ready for mainstream applications.

If you’re at ISE 2017, it is worth spending some time looking at the fascinating screen and discussing future proof concepts with the team on hand.

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