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Broken screen accommodation

Keep using your screen that has a broken section
  [vote for,

If your screen gets broken near an edge or corner, but the rest of it still works, that's nearly as unusable as a screen that doesn't work at all, because most operating systems expect that the whole screen works and will put vital things in the area that is now broken.

Apple popularized the "notch" in smartphones with the iPhone X, and then a bunch of Android phones copied it. Now Android has operating system-level support for arbitrarily shaped screens. However, AFAIK, the screen shape is set once at the time the phone manufacturer builds their customized version of Android for their phone, and probably remains set until you load another ROM.

I propose to use that mechanism (or the equivalent that may already exist in or be added to other operating systems such as macOS, Windows, and Linux) in a slightly more dynamic way. When your screen breaks, you'll be able to use the non-rectangular screen support to accommodate it.

Simply start up your device into a special mode (by holding down a key combination as it boots), in which it will display instructions for setting the new screen shape. These instructions are displayed quite small, but repeated many times across the whole screen, so that, no matter what part is broken, you can probably still read them.

If your device is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop that has a built-in front-facing camera, just hold it facing a mirror and press the indicated button. It will display white, and possibly red, green, and blue as well, over the whole screen, and take photos of its own screen in the mirror.

If your device is a computer with an external webcam, just take that off the top of the screen and aim it at the screen before pressing the button.

If your device has no camera, you can use a standalone camera or phone. Just take a photo of the broken screen displaying each color, load those onto a flash drive, and stick that into the device with a broken screen.

To make clear the orientation of the photos, an asymmetric pattern can be added to the sequence of flat colors displayed, such as a grid of tiny spirals. The pattern can also be varied across the height and width of the screen, to make clear where on the screen a given pixel is, if all of the corners are broken.

Once the device has the photos of its screen, it will analyze them to detect where the corners of the screen are (or where the center of the pattern is) and what part of the screen is broken. Then it shows you what area of the screen is still usable, with a draggable border in case you want to adjust the shape. There's also an option to use the largest rectangular area, if a corner broke, to maintain better compatibility with current apps that expect a rectangular screen. Once you've decided what shape to use, the device sets its own screen shape to the chosen shape, and reboots.

Now it's more usable, in that everything on the screen avoids the broken area, because that's no longer considered part of the screen.

N/A [2018-12-18]

notexactly, Dec 18 2018

Broken Arrow https://en.wikipedi...nology#Broken_Arrow
For anybody unfamiliar [notexactly, Dec 19 2018]


       Sounds like a plan.   

       This is a really great idea - I love the idea of technology incrementally adapting to its defects and frailties as it gets older - as people do - rather than either 'working' or 'not working'.

(On reading the title, I thought 'Broken Screen Accommodation' might be housing units lit entirely by broken displays scavenged from broken laptops and tablets - not such a good idea as the one actually posted)
hippo, Dec 19 2018

       What about accommodating Broken Arrows ?
8th of 7, Dec 19 2018

       The natural terrain seems to do that all too effectively…
notexactly, Dec 19 2018

       Goes out to get a hammer to break screen to see if this actually works.
xenzag, Dec 19 2018

       You can test it nondestructively by putting opaque tape over part of your screen.
notexactly, Dec 19 2018

       Or to test it without getting adhesive on the screen, you could stick an identical bit of tape on each of your corneas, in the same relative positions.
8th of 7, Dec 19 2018

       Call me thicko if you will, but what's Broken Arrow got to do with a screen?
not_morrison_rm, Dec 19 2018

       Try shooting an arrow at your screen. If the screen is stronger than the arrow, the arrow will break. If the arrow is stronger than the screen, try again with another device.
pocmloc, Dec 19 2018

       What if the arrow is not only exactly the same strength as the screen, but approaches it in progressively smaller steps of (d - Delta-d) such that the screen and arrow never actually come into contact ?
8th of 7, Dec 19 2018

       After an infinite number of such steps (occupying a finite amount of time due to the suspicious underhand influence of Reality and Mathematics), both will break.
pocmloc, Dec 19 2018

       Cool. We will willingly pay a dollar to watch someone shoot arrows at iPhoneys.
8th of 7, Dec 19 2018

       As someone who enjoyed the pastime of toxophily, the arrow would bounce off a strong screen.
not_morrison_rm, Dec 19 2018

       Bodkin-head crossbow quarrel ?
8th of 7, Dec 19 2018

       On most Android phones now, hidden in the developer settings, is an option to simulate a notch on screen for purposes of app testing. The Android system allows up to 2 notches to be simulated on screen at any given time (if I correctly recall a video I saw on the topic from MKBHD), so if your screen happens to be cracked in an area that this developer support setting allows to be covered with a notch, that MAY be all you need to do... I'll tinker around with it on my Pixel 2 XL and see what I can do.
21 Quest, Dec 20 2018

       Ok, so the option is labeled "display cutout" and there are 4 options showing on my device, which means a rooted device should gain even greater functionality. I think there's an even more applicable setting, however, in the accessibility options, which shrinks the whole display down for one handed use. Given that it supports left and right handed modes, as well as landscape support, that too may provide the functionality you're searching for.   

       Update after searching: SOME Android phones have One- handed Mode. iPhone calls it "Reachability".
21 Quest, Dec 20 2018

       Toxophily; good word. Gonna be a hard one to work into conversation.   

       //Bodkin-head crossbow quarrel   

       Do they? Have they tried the Acas Helpline? It's 0300 123 1100.   

       But seriously, it sounds like Anasazi pointy heads stuff.
not_morrison_rm, Dec 20 2018

       // Do they? //   

       Notorious for it.   

       // Have they tried the Acas Helpline? It's 0300 123 1100. //   

       They couldn't see the point.   

       // But seriously, it sounds like Anasazi pointy heads stuff //   

       Wasn't that the Maya/Aztec pre-Columbian central American lot ? Wooden boards strapped to foreheads and stuff ?
8th of 7, Dec 20 2018

       Indeedy, so the Anasazi had a resource able to pierce the bone/animal skin armour of competing tribes.   

       Admittedly the ballista would have to pretty big to launch citizens at the enemy, the upside is they'd be quite aerodynamic, unlike the round(ish) skulls of the enemies.   

       I feel a great disturbance...as if a thousand researchers of the North American Archaic period were all face-palming at the same time...
not_morrison_rm, Dec 20 2018

       They want to watch out, they could end up with flat foreheads and pointy skulls that way ...
8th of 7, Dec 20 2018


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