The Effect of Ambient Illumination on Handheld Display Image Quality

Abstract

Handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets are becoming useful in the medical field, as they allow physicians, radiologists, and researchers to analyze images with the benefit of mobile accessibility. However, for handheld devices to be effective, the display must be able to perform well in a wide range of ambient illumination conditions. We conducted visual experiments to quantify user performance for testing the image quality of two current-generation devices in different ambient illumination conditions while measuring ambient light levels with a real-time illuminance meter. We found and quantified that due to the high reflectivity of handheld devices, performance deteriorates as the user moves from dark areas into environments of greater ambient illumination. The quantitative analysis suggests that differences in display reflection coefficients do not affect the low illumination performance of the device but rather the performance at higher levels of illumination.

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Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge support from the Research Participation Program administered by ORISE through an interagency agreement between DOE and FDA. The mention of commercial products herein is not to be construed as either an actual or implied endorsement of such products by the Department of Health and Human Services. This is a contribution of the Food and Drug Administration and is not subject to copyright. We thank the volunteers who participated in the experiments.

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Correspondence to Aldo Badano.

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Liu, P., Zafar, F. & Badano, A. The Effect of Ambient Illumination on Handheld Display Image Quality. J Digit Imaging 27, 12–18 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10278-013-9636-1

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Keywords

  • Clinical image viewing
  • Data display
  • Diagnostic display monitors
  • Diagnostic image quality
  • Digital display
  • Display device
  • Human–computer interaction
  • Human visual system
  • Image display
  • Liquid crystal display (LCD)
  • Medical displays
  • Personal digital assistant (PDA)
  • Visual perception