Dawn of The Metaverse - Wearables with mini-LED Backlight to Bring Diverse Opportunities

As Facebook announced its new name “Meta” in October 2021, metaverse, a concept first appeared in science-fiction instantly became a keyword for the global tech world. Every tech giant has kicked off metaverse investments and research programs in hopes of developing ever-diverse applications and opportunities.
 
Viewed as the future of the internet, the metaverse is a virtual world parallel but connected to the real one. Using VR-enabled wearables, people gain access to the shared virtual space and engage one another in it. Online conferences, virtual exhibitions and gaming are some familiar examples that come to mind.
 
To enter the virtual space of the metauniverse from the real world, VR-enabled wearables are the key. They must be based on display technology that meets the stringent demand. Full-array local dimming-enabled LCD displays with mini-LED backlight can provide high contrast ratio and high resolution to produce excellent results. Major players are actively introducing display technology as it enables wearables to offer immersive, true-to-life visual experiences.
 
Wearables with mini-LED backlight create more immersive user experience
 
mini-LED backlight supporting full-array local dimming optimizes immersive visual experience
 
As major brands including Apple, Samsung, LG and Lenovo introduced tablets, TVs and laptops featuring full-array local dimming mini-LED backlight technology, mini-LED applications have officially become an essential part of innovative display technology. Competing for lead in the nascent metaverse, companies are developing wearables with small- and medium-sized displays.  
 
Compared to traditional edge-lit LED backlight, mini-LED backlight uses full-array local dimming so that the backlight can light up like a graphical representation of the picture. It illuminates only the bright areas and keeps the dark areas black, boosting contrast ratio. However, this means more LEDs and drivers are needed, which is a challenge for wearables that have to be compact.  
 
mini-LED backlight driver ICs from LED driver maker Macroblock are based on the scan type, which needs fewer driver ICs to control the entire local dimming comparing to the static type. For example, two 64-channel 8-scan Macroblock driver ICs can control mini-LED backlight with 1024 zones. Targeting metaverse applications, Macroblock MBI6334 addresses the needs of mini-LED backlight solutions for wearables.
 
Macroblock introduces Variable Refresh Rate Technology to meet metaverse’s need for smooth pictures
 
VR wearables are just like gaming displays that the images continue to move and update with user operation. In other words, the GPU produces a different picture while we move our sightline or head, and the frame rate is not fixed either. Therefore, to prevent the LCD display images we see from stuttering and tearing and the mini-LED backlight from flicker and uneven brightness, these devices need Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) to match the frequency of the images shown to the frequency of images produced. 
 
Abnormal Conditions with non-VRR-enabled metaverse wearables
 
Macroblock MBI6334 features VRR to effectively process signals sent by the frontend at random intervals. Regardless of under the static type or the scan type, MBI6334 can adjust the Vsync sent early or late from the frontend. This effectively eliminates problems caused by mismatching frame rate and refresh rate to keep the final image clean and smooth, overcome flicker and uneven brightness, keep the backlight uniform and the contrast ratio, and make the immersive interactive images more realistic.    
 
   
Under static type, MBI6334 overcomes backlight flicker issue by adjusting Vsync sent either early or late
 
Under scan type, MBI6334 overcomes backlight uneven backlight issue by adjusting Vsync sent either early or late
 
Moreover, putting on VR wearables for an extended period of time can cause dizziness due to motion blur on LCD displays. Macroblock MBI6334 supports up to 480Hz frame rate, which is more than the refresh rate of most LCD displays. It supports black frame insertion by leveraging the backlight’s high frame rate. As a result, it reduces motion blur caused by liquid crystal twisting and eases the dizziness for wearable users, which expand metaverse application opportunities.
 
Industry joins forces to upgrade display technology in response to emerging metaverse opportunity
 
To support various activities in the virtual metaverse, we need to further develop and integrate existing hardware and software. Available mini-LED backlight technology is the key to bringing more true-to-life and immersive experiences. Supporting driver ICs need to address the demand and continue to pursue technical breakthroughs. 
 
Macroblock has high hopes for the metaverse market and opportunity and will continue to introduce solutions for innovative metaverse applications as we boost the development of wearables that connect virtual and real worlds to bring users vivid experiences. 
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