As smartphones and tablets continue to be more and more “sophisticated”, one problem remains constant among all of them (yes, even you Samsung): battery life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The more you use your device, the more you need either a battery extender or to hug the wall socket. Microsoft has recently conducted a research that might lessen gadgets’ battery consumption, at least for those that use OLED screens, and they’re calling the project Fingershadow.
The basic idea is this: the parts of the display on the smartphone or tablet that are being covered by your fingers when you’re swiping through the screen should be dimmed or even turned off temporarily in order to save energy. Users will hardly (hopefully) notice the difference since their fingers would be on those areas anyway. The dimming should also help with improving the focus of the users since the dimming will also lessen shadows and reflections on the screen.
To facilitate the study, they observed 10 users using the Samsung Galaxy S5. They used sensors to detect their finger positions at a height of 1.5 cm where they do not touch their phones’ display. For the initial tests, they were able to save from 5%-22% of the device’s energy consumption. But as mentioned earlier, this would only work on those that have OLED displays because it can control pixels individually, unlike with a TFT or LCD display where the whole screen is lit up when using.
So far, there are no plans yet to introduce FingerShadow to the market, but in case they do find a way to apply it to mobile devices, it would be great for those having battery problems. That is, if the technology itself would not require extra energy. It might also encourage more devices to adapt the OLED display, following in the footsteps of several Samsung and LG devices. If you want to read the full study, you can go to the Microsoft Research site.