Shaking Low-Res Screens Look Higher ResolutionTurns out there's a simple way to make a cheap, low resolution screen look like a modern Retina display: give it a little shake.
Yep, you read that right.
The idea is actually quite intuitive when you think about it: when we watch a movie, we perceive continuous motion where there isn't any. Our eyes interpolate the motion between the frames. By giving a display a small shake, you are creating a moving image. Therefore, the brain interpolates the details between the pixels.
Well, the technique is a little more complicated than that. First, the image has to be broken down into several smaller images at the screen's native resolution. These images need to display one after another as the screen gently vibrates. Doing it this way caused the other images to bounce into the spaces between the pixels, and our eyes perceive it as a solid whole.
A better analogy might be old interlaced television screens. They displayed half the image at any given time and let the brain fill in the details. It is the same basic concept, but with a little twist.
It's actually a fine balance. Too little vibration and the screen will make the viewer dizzy. Too much and the image gets uselessly fuzzy and annoying to hold.
This technique could prove to be the secret to cheap, long-lasting phones. Most of the power in a phone is consumed by the massive display. Lower-resolution displays frequently consume less energy than higher-resolution ones; the new iPad needed a much larger battery to compensate for the display, for example. By shaking a screen, we could have cheaper hardware displaying better graphics than anything that is available now.