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Samsung announces world's first mass produced transparent LCD panels

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March 31, 2011

Advertising is likely to be the first application for Samsung's new transparent LCD panels

Advertising is likely to be the first application for Samsung's new transparent LCD panels

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When it comes to display technologies nothing says "cool" like a transparent display. While we've seen a number of prototypes, such as TDK's flexible OLED display, pop up at trade shows in the last couple of years, Samsung has announced it has already started mass production of a 22-inch transparent LCD panel. Because they rely on ambient light instead of the usual back lighting, the transparent panels consume 90 percent less electricity than conventional LCD panels. But despite the fact the new panels are starting to roll off the Samsung production lines, it will probably still be a while before transparent panels make it onto our desktops.

Samsung is producing two varieties of transparent LCD panels – a black and white and a color version. Both boast a contrast ratio of 500:1 and resolution of 1680 x 1050 (WSXGA), with the black and white model sporting what Samsung says is the world's best transparency rate of over 20 percent and the color model claiming a transparency rate of over 15 percent. This compares to the five percent transparency rate of conventional LCD panels. Both panels also incorporate HDMI and USB interfaces.

Samsung's new transparent LCD panel

No doubt reflecting the expected high price of the transparent panels – and possibly while the boffins at Samsung rack their brains for possible everyday home and office applications – Samsung is touting the possibilities for the panels for use in advertising in shop windows and outdoor billboards. It also says corporations and schools could put the panels to use as an interactive communication device.

Unfortunately there's still no word on when the prototype transparent AMOLED displays Samsung was showing off at CES 2011 will get the same mass-production treatment.

Even though the applications for home/office users may be limited, these things just look so cool we can't help wanting one. So if anyone can come up with a good use for the technology in the Gizmag offices, please let us know in the comments because we'd love to have an excuse to snap one up when they drop in price.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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4 Comments

Obviously.. augmented reality HUD OVERLAY VISOR!!!! so you can just connect it to an iphone or somthing and it will overlay virtual info (gps/landmarks/gas stations) If you're not familiar with augmented reality, think of it as virtual images that are overlaid onto images of reality in real-time.

VooDooX
1st April, 2011 @ 09:41 am PDT

I would like to see this made into a sheild for a motorcycle helmet. That would display the gauges and possibly intergated into a 360* awerness for the rider, say when a car comes into your blind spot the edge of the screen could light up allowing the rider to know when some one is close. ~Mark

Mark Fry
1st April, 2011 @ 10:09 am PDT

I lover the motorcycle idea, but what about a diving mask with all the information about depth, air reserve, compass and diving profile?

Nacho Lotitto
4th April, 2011 @ 01:49 pm PDT

as much as I love the idea of Augmented reality, these displays are 1) only 30% transparent for the monotone versions so it would be like driving with two pairs of sunglasses on. and 2) they require ambient light for them to be seen at all, so they would be more than useless at night [not only is there very little ambient light to speak of, it also blocks out 70% of the little light that is there. Ever tried driving a car with sunglasses on at night?]

Patrick Weddell
10th May, 2011 @ 10:44 pm PDT
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