The interior of our cars has evolved from merely a space for driving to a space that offers more value to the occupants than ever before. There are 4 core factors that have contributed to this trend of providing a more natural and intuitive user experience. These essential concepts are form factor, perfect black, transparency, and integration of supplemental technologies such as augmented reality. All 4 of these factors are interesting use cases for pOLED technologies in the automotive and mobile space fields. It is now necessary to do more than merely showcase pOLED as a dynamic technology and provide meaningful use cases that ultimately provide a more satisfactory and convenient user experience. Ultimately, the aesthetic design should seek to deliver a more visually appealing and efficient solution inside and out.
The Impact of Form Factor
To discuss pOLED, one must fully understand its context. More specifically, the context of electric cars and autonomous driving could be viewed as independent issues, but my opinion is that unleashing pOLED’s potential can be maximized under further advancement of electrification and autonomous technology in vehicles. Current use of automotive screen interfaces has been limited to basic navigation and entertainment. Combining electric car technology, autonomous technology and pOLED technology will create an experience in cars similar to that experienced in the comfort of one’s own home or office. The compact package architecture of electric propulsion systems allows for maximized interior space and the notion of full autonomy allows for a completely new set of behaviors and opportunities in a car that are similar to any other static living or working space.
pOLED flexible technologies allow designers to sculpt and build the space without the restraints of a specific aspect ratio. After generations of research in human factors and studying human anatomy, automotive designers and regulators seems to agree that sharp and obtrusive edges and corners can be unsafe and also feel unsafe. If designers can have more freedom to curve, bend and fold screens, the feeling of harmony and continuity can be more easily executed in solving design problems. Combining functionality is another great design benefit. One example would be if a screen can have enough flexibility to not only provide access to information and entertainment but also provide a storage place, shade or privacy. A thinner display can also highlight optical elegance.
Perfect Black, Perfect Picture
Picture quality is obviously important in TV’s for entertainment value, but in automotive, perfect black resolution would greatly enhance user experience as well as blend nicely into piano black surfaces and reduce visual cluttering. Because each pixel can be turned off individually, OLED technology can deliver absolute black and a stronger contrast ratio.
Transparency in Motion
According to research conducted at Northwestern University in Chicago, office workers who sit by a window sleep better and have a higher quality of life than their counterparts who sit in windowless areas. The study found that people who work near a window in an office sleep for longer periods at night, sleep more soundly, are more energetic and active, and have an overall better quality of life when compared to those seated away from a window during the day. The Daylight and Workplace Study conducted by Cornell University’s Dr. Alan Hedge, a professor in the department of design and environmental analysis, and commissioned by View Dynamic Glass, found that workers seated by a window that optimized natural light reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision — all symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome (aka, digital eye strain) caused by prolonged screen use. If designers had access to transparent pOLED technology, the sensation of natural light can be a combined force with access to information and entertainment. Additionally, the problem of motion sickness can be reduced with the ability to anticipate sudden stop and go motion.
Opportunity for Augmented Reality
When applied to transparent pOLED technology, the notion of augmented reality becomes a very exciting exercise. Information, entertainment, gaming, marketplaces and even advertising such as product placement in context of the environment have great potential in the mobility space. This opens up tremendous opportunity for other industries to collaborate toward effortless access to users and vice versa. Other applications of this have touched on this topic. Applications in gaming such as Pokémon Go, maps such as Waze and image aggregators such as Pinterest have great potential but have not yet been combined with transparent pOLED.