While the world moves on to more advanced display tech, there’s still wiggle room to improve the old LCD system. Kopin Corp. has done exactly that–they’ve made a full-color VGA screen that’s just a quarter inch across.
The miniscule screen has a full 600 x 480 pixels and is just 0.27-inches on the diagonal. Kopin’s calling it the “smallest VGA color-filter liquid crystal display in the world,” and we’re not going to argue with them: Four of these stacked together would best a full 720p HDTV screen, and still be just about the size of a dime.
The company achieved the breakthrough by shrinking the dot-pitch of the screen–that’s the size of the pixel and the relative spacing between them–and that’s a tricky task because the pixels still have to reliably function, and all the transparent driving electronics needs to be fitted in too. In fact Kopin’s pixels are just 2.9 x 8.7 microns across. To give that a sense of scale, a human hair can be up to 100 microns across.
What’s the point of such a technological advance? It’s just a step on the road to Kopin producing a 2048 x 2048 display the size of a postage stamp, according to the company. And that means that in a few years time the screen on the back of your DSLR could show a full-resolution preview of the photo you’ve just taken. It’s also another step along the road to a future where high-res color displays are embedded absolutely everywhere–as envisaged by Microsoft’s futurists in their vision for 2019.