(Phys.org) -- Microsoft Research is getting into the burgeoning game of modular display wallscutting a path to a wallpaper of the future, where walls themselves serve as modular displays. Engineers on the project had set themselves a goal of wanting to build a system to research the problem of trying to fix displays to scale large. The operative word on the Microsoft project is scalabilitythe display system built at its lab in Washington is meeting the teams goal. The technology project at Microsoft Research is called 'vX'.
Microsoft engineers 15 flatscreen displays that make up the system all have their own special set of electronics. None needs its own graphics card or a computer. They are all controlled by one PC. The system stays modular, said one engineer, and the display is kept as flat as can be.
By reducing each display to a small set of electronics, there is consumer viability as part of the teams vision, where a customer can some day in the future pick up a big roll of display at the hardware store as one would pick up a roll of wallpaper today. And if they tire of the way the display looks, they can just reprogram it. That's what the future of displays is going to turn into, said Tom Blank, the Microsoft Research engineering manager in charge of the vX project.
While giant HD displays exist today, they usually involve multiple displays working in tandem with one another, each controlled by an individual computer. That impacts price, as they call for a lot of electronics. The 2,160-inch HD screen at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, cost $40 million. "What we're really interested in is a future where this is just wallpaper, and we can cover anything -- where this circuit here is incorporated into your wallpaper," according to the video demo.
The Microsoft teams system is designed to scale up to a 1,300-inch display. Another key feature of the technology is vX's superior resolution. Microsoft's vX display has 72 million pixels at 100 dots per inch. If one walks up next to the screen, images can still be seen clearly.
Microsoft Research, meanwhile, is continuing its work on further scaling up its display system. The next step is to add more screens, to get to 24and beyond.
Explore further: Sony's next-generation 55-inch 'Crystal LED Display' prototype presented at CES