Thursday December 18, 2003
Toshiba have announced a new technolgy that increases privacy for the user by narrowing the viewing angle of LCD screens. As well as addressing security concerns around the use of ATMs and touchscreen displays in public places, the tecnology can also facilitate user adjustment of the viewing angle on personal devices - increase the angle to show images on your phone, PDA or laptop to a group of friends, or cut-back the angle when you need more privacy.
In recent years, research into LCD flat panel TV has concentrated on reducing the darkening effect experienced when viewing LCDs from the side. Toshiba asked whether this "defect" in terms of television viewing could have benefits in other areas and developed the new technology where the viewing angle can be simply controlled by the user.
The screen works usign a special filter placed on the display area and a small circuit built into the display controller that aligns the pixels in the LCD. The pixels are arranged in different directions so that when activated, a bright image remains visible from the front of the screen but a reticulate pattern is all that can be seen from the side.
The filters can also be customized so that images or logos can be displayed - in an ATM, for example, filters could be designed to display an ad when the ATM is not in use.