The demands and requirements placed on display devices are becoming ever more diverse and, in order to answer these demands, Canon is bringing into play its ultra-high processing technology and materials technology, as well as its electronics technology, all based on the pursuit of the highest image quality, in order to advance the development of display devices.
MR (Mixed Reality) Technology
Cutting-Edge Technologies that Merge the Real and Virtual Worlds
MR (Mixed Reality) technology refers to imaging technology that seamlessly integrates the real and virtual worlds in real time. MR, a cutting-edge technology that improves an existing VR (Virtual Reality) technology, benefits from the advantages of the rich visual information of the real world and the flexibility of the virtual world.
In 2002, Canon released an HMD (Head-Mounted Display) that used a free-form prism developed in-house, which created the foundation for MR technology.
Canon's HMD is a device that can make virtual objects appear as if they were actually present within the real world. Two CCD cameras installed in the HMD capture video images from the real world for both the right and left eyes, and the real video images are then input into a computer. Using a computer, computer graphics are overlaid with the real video images in front of the user's eyes, creating a realistic experience thanks to optical technologies that match the optical axis of the display and camera inside the HMD. Furthermore, thanks to Canon's proprietary free-form prism, the HMD realizes a compact design images and displays images with low distortion.
One of the challenges facing MR technology is the gap in position and time between the real world and virtual images. This gap can cause users to feel that images are unrealistic. To prevent this gap, the image registration technology, which positions the real and virtual worlds, needed to be improved to ensure high accuracy and real-time processing. Therefore, Canon developed a high-accuracy, high-speed marker detection technology that is used for image registration. We also developed a hybrid registration technology that uses markers captured by the cameras to correct for errors in the sensor measurements. MR technology has taken large steps toward commercial viability. The range of situations in which the HMD can be used is expanding dramatically thanks to Canon's own image-processing technologies.
Overview of MR Technology
As a case study for practical application of MR technology, a railway company is considering using MR technology before installing new train platform doors. This technology offers great promise for use in a wide range of fields, including design and prototype simulations, medical diagnosis, surgical support, education and exhibitions, and entertainment. Canon is moving forward with development to realize commercialization.
Example of case study utilizing MR technology to determine train station platform door positioning
- How the product's core technology was developed:
Organic Light Emitting Diode Displays
Toward More Convenient Mobile Devices
OLED displays are self-emitting displays based on the phenomenon of organic electro-luminescence, which occurs when voltage is applied to excite organic materials between two electrodes. They have high image quality and are light and compact, with low power consumption, making them attractive for use as displays in mobile telephones and other portable devices.
Canon, aiming to realize high performance, low-cost OLED displays, carried out the development process in-house, from organic materials to devices and processes.
To develop the organic materials, Canon applied the principles of the organic photo-conductors that it had developed for use in the field of electro-photography and further developed electron injection transport materials, as well as dopant materials and RGB light-emitting materials for increasing emission performance.
The system adopts a "top emission" structure that casts light to the encapsulation layer side, ensuring a wide aperture ratio to enable highly efficient light emission. Because organic films are color-coded using high-precision mask deposition technology to ensure that RGB luminescent materials emit light for each color, color filters and color conversion are not required. Active matrix TFT substrates are used to drive the pixels.
In terms of manufacturing technology, Canon is working closely with Group companies Canon ANELVA Corporation and Canon Tokki Corporation, who have developed vacuum processing technologies, and is also collaborating with Japan Display Inc. in order to produce OLED with high levels of efficiency, color purity, and longevity.
OLED Display (Prototype)
Structure of OLED Display
Group Company Technology ——— Canon Tokki Corporation
OLED Manufacturing Device Technology
Because the organic material used to manufacture OLED display panels easily deteriorates when brought into contact with moisture or oxygen, it is necessary to coat RGB emission layers and metallic electrode material in a vacuum using vacuum deposition, then seal the organic material without exposing it to air. Canon Tokki Corporation develops and manufactures cluster-type and other OLED panel manufacturing equipment for the complete automation of all panel manufacturing processes.
The coating process is performed with high-precision mask deposition technology using a proprietary mask alignment mechanism that employs a CCD camera. The organic material is deposited through evaporation, and the film thickness is optimally controlled by an evaporation-rate control system. Because high temperatures of around 1,000℃ are necessary for the deposition of metallic electrode material, a high-temperature cell evaporation source is used.
In the encapsulation process, a low-humidity, low-vacuum pressure chamber near to atmospheric pressure is filled with nitrogen gas and adhesive is applied.
This fully automated manufacturing system can maintain constant operation with a cycle time of 2-3 minutes per substrate for approximately one week, contributing to the mass production of OLED displays.
Fully Automated OLED Display Manufacturing System