Fujitsu's research and development (R&D) centre in Japan has developed software to display small letters legibly on compact devices such as cell phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants), the company has announced.
Fujitsu's technology is particularly suitable for double-byte languages, such as Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic, according to Nobuaki Usui, chief researcher of the input and output research division of Fujitsu.
Usually, a coloured pixel on a computer screen is represented with a mixture of three primary colors – red, green and blue (RGB). In a flat-panel display, each pixel is made up of three vertical strips, each representing one of these three colours. As letters are formed using many of these pixels, the smaller the letters get, the more distorted the edges of the letter appear on a screen. Up till now, this problem was solved by using greyscale, changing the density of each pixel's blackness. However, this technique sacrifices the sharpness of a letter's edge.
Fujitsu's solution to this problem is to treat each colour strip as an individual pixel to give finer control over the contours of a letter. The letters will have red, green or blue edges, but these will be imperceptible to the human eye. As the technology doesn't need to combine three strips to make up one colour, it can treat each colour strip independently and offers 256-scale colour for each pixel strip, Usui said.
Also, as Fujitsu technology controls the brightness of each colour strip next to the pixel, this enables it to accurately display the contours on the edge of a letter.
This means that rendering jagged parts of a complex letter or symbol can be done more clearly by contouring its shape with a colour strip rather than surrounding the letter with combined colours of pixels, especially when the letter gets smaller.
Fujitsu hopes its font display technology will be adopted by makers of mobile devices, such as PDAs and cell phones, Usui said. On a PDA screen, which normally has a maximum resolution of 100 dpi (dots per inch), Fujitsu's font display technology can display text as small as five-point size in a readable style, he said.
Fujitsu plans to commercialize this font display technology within one to two years, Usui said.