Electronic Design
Improving Display Quality and Efficiency

Improving Display Quality and Efficiency

Improving display image quality especially in bright or changing lighting can be a challenge. Likewise, displays take a significant amount of the power budget on most mobile devices. Reducing this amount can provide a designer with the edge needed in new products. QuickLogic's Visual Enhancement Engine (VEE) and Display Power Optimizer (DPO) target these areas.

VEE compensates for non-ideal viewing environments (Fig. 1). It works with DPO to provide better video while reducing overall power requirements. Paul Karazuba, QuickLogic's Senior Marketing Manager, talked with me about VEE and DPO.

Wong: Can you describe QuickLogic’s Visual Enhancement Engine (VEE) technology?

Karazuba: QuickLogic’s VEE technology, based on Apical Ltd’s iridix algorithm, is a chip-based technology greatly enhances the viewability of mobile display through optimizing the display content for ambient lighting.  VEE adjusts video parameters such as dynamic range, contrast ratio, and color saturation on a pixel-by-pixel basis, resulting in a superior viewing experience.  VEE allows your smartphone or tablet’s display to be viewable in high ambient lighting environments, such as a sunny day.

VEE uses a human model of perception, not a machine model (Fig. 2). Changes made by VEE result in an image that retains detail, color and vitality. The dynamic range is applied to each pixel using tonal and color transformations based on a local tone mapping algorithm.

Used in conjunction with VEE, QuickLogic’s DPO (Display Power Optimizer) technology allows for the display backlight to be significantly reduced without compromising the viewing experience, savings considerable system power resources.  This results in single-charge battery life extension that averages 25%, and has been documented as high as 41%. 

Wong: Does VEE work with conventional displays?

Karazuba: Yes—VEE works with all commonly-used mobile display types and technologies, including OLED, AMOLED, LCD, Super LCD, IPS, touch-screens, PicoProjectors and others.

Wong: What hardware is required to implement VEE?

Karazuba: VEE is contained on a QuickLogic CSSP (Customer-Specific Standard Product) chip, which sits in the signal path between the processor/CPU and the display.   No additional components are required.

Wong: What applications benefit from VEE?

Karazuba: VEE benefits applications such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and notebooks, where display viewability and power savings are important.

Wong: What features are provided by VEE?

Karazuba: VEE provides superior display viewability, regardless of ambient lighting, while DPO allows a significant extension of per-charge battery life.

Wong: What screen sizes can VEE support?

Karazuba: VEE is not limited by size—rather, VEE currently supports up to WXGA (1366 x 768) at 60 FPS.  Future generations of VEE will increase the resolution capabilities.

Wong: How is VEE implemented?

Karazuba: VEE is implemented by placing a QuickLogic CSSP in the display path between the applications processor/CPU and the display.  Based on the display used and target viewability and power savings improvements, QuickLogic and the system designer perform a very quick calibration of VEE to ensure the ideal implementation.  Once that calibration is establish, no more work is required.

Wong: How does VEE and DPO benefit the OEM, and how does it benefit the user?

Karazuba: OEMs benefit from VEE because they can promote the features and benefit of VEE as an OEM-unique technology. Because VEE improves the viewability of all commonly-used displays, their customers will enjoy a noticeably better user experience because video and display content is clearly visible in all lighting conditions, even in bright light.

DPO also provides a significant advantage to OEMs. Extended battery life and longer single-charge battery life are key selling points. This increased battery life could enable an OEM to use a lower capacity, and therefore less expensive, battery, which offers a “green” benefit as well. DPO benefits the user in that it significantly extends the per-charge battery life, allowing them to enjoy their device much longer than before.

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