A few days ago Samsung let it be known that a smartphone with a flexible display would ship later in the holiday quarter. The Korean press quoted Samsung's SDI CEO Park Sang-jin stating last Wednesday that "The newly launched curved phones will not be completely flexible" adding that "We have developed the technology to make batteries a little curved and to fix them after being bent." The slightly curved flexible display could very well resemble the curvature illustrated in Samsung's granted design patent that we covered back in May. In today's report we cover Samsung's latest invention relating to a flexible display with an integrated floating screen structure. The unique aspect to this invention relates to the flex display being able to create a particular spot on the display that protrudes in a physical 3D-like effect using next generation haptics. The effect will be triggered by events that are programmed into tags hidden in future TV commercials and/or other video content such as movies.
Samsung Invents a New Kind of Flexible Display
Generally speaking, the haptic functions found on today's mobile devices such as smartphones employ a structure so that when a user views an image through the touch panel and presses and manipulates the touch panel, a vibration generating means such as a vibration motor or a piezoelectric actuator generates and applies a vibration to the touch panel, whereby the vibration is forwarded to the user through the touch panel.
With the advent of flexible display technology, it is now possible to provide the user with a more stereoscopic (3D-like) haptic effect on their display.
A further aspect of Samsung's invention is to provide a tagging method and apparatus for providing a scene with emphasis effect on an electronic device with a flexible display.
According to another aspect of the invention, a method for displaying on an electronic device is provided. The method includes playing back video content, which include at least one or more objects intended for emphasis on a flexible screen and deforming at least one or more objects intended for emphasis on the flex display.
Flex Display with a Floating Screen Structure
Samsung's patent FIGS. 1A and 1B noted below illustrate a flexible display which consists of a floating screen structure in which a plurality of haptic actuators (#104) and a flexible screen (#102) are installed within a display house. That is, as illustrated in FIG. 1A, the plurality of haptic actuators are installed between the flexible screen and the display house.
As illustrated in patent FIG. 1B, when some of the haptic actuators installed under the flexible screen are activated, partial regions (#105 and #106) of the flexible screen are deformed convexly corresponding to the activated haptic actuators.
Samsung notes that the new flexible display can be integrated into any number of future computers and devices such as smartphone, tablet, PDA, or media player.
Samsung's Secret Sauce
In an exemplary embodiment of Samsung's invention, when the processor opens a web page, which is composed of various objects such as an image, a text and a link through a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Android Chrome, the processor determines if there are any tagged objects intended for physical emphasis among the objects forming the web page.
When there are objects tagged for physical emphasis, the processor recognizes object shapes and locations for the objects tagged for physical emphasis. Additionally, the processor sets the intensities and/or states for haptic actuations which correspond to the objects tagged for physical emphasis and then display the web page by activating the haptic actuators based on the intensities and/or states.
Furthermore, the processor determines the durations of physical emphasis effect for each object tagged on a flexible screen. When there are no physical emphasis effects, the processor resets the actuators to be neutral state. That is, the processor restores the flexible screen which had been deformed convexly according to the objects tagged for physical emphasis, to the original plane state.
In another exemplary embodiment, when the processor plays back video content, the processor determines if there are objects tagged for physical emphasis effect in the visual content. When there is pixel information with a physical emphasis effect in the visual frame, the processor extracts an object shape and location from the pixel information.
For example only and without limitation, the processor extracts a coordinate (x, y, z) and a size information of the object with physical emphasis effect, and duration information of physical emphasis effect from every visual frames.
Samsung's Coca-Cola Bottle Example
Samsung's patent FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate an example of displaying a website scene or video. When the content provider intends to emphasize a (Coca-Cola) drink bottle (#700) as in FIG. 7A, the emphasis effect data includes a location and a size of the drink bottle to be displayed in each visual frame. Then, the flexible screen deforms the drink bottle portion of the screen based on the emphasis effect data as denoted by reference numeral 710 as in FIG. 7B, when a user plays back the visual content in a video.
When triggered by the appropriate tags, the Coke bottle will protrude from the screen as noted in patent FIG. 7B. Below is a Samsung flowchart that illustrates a procedure for displaying an effect on an electronic device.
Samsung filed their patent application under serial number 778040 back in Q1 2013 in the US and a year earlier in Korea. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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