Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Microsoft's FingerShadow aims to save power by turning off the pixels covered by your fingers

OLED screens have supplanted LCDs in almost every scenario except showing a mostly white screen, but Microsoft has been playing around with a system that may help in that case.

This FingerShadow (pdf link) system  can provide up to 22% energy savings by turning off the pixels covered by your fingers. If you think about it... there's nothing wrong with it, as you wouldn't be able to see these pixels anyway, and they would be just wasting power unnecessarily.

The key issue would be to make sure this system would only affect really covered pixels, so it wouldn't become a nuisance in your daily operation, but according to MS the FingerShadow could be easily implemented in every device with an OLED  touchscreen; and even more in recent devices like the Galaxy S4 and S5, that have a more advanced display controller that can have pixel by pixel tone/brightness settings.

Considering the screen is one of the most power hungry components in a smartphone/tablet, one can imagine what even a seemingly small 10% energy saving might represent. Curiously, this would benefit the users that actually use their smartphones (and keep touching and interacting with it) more than those that simply "look at it".

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