Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Sharp debuts shapely Free-Form Display technology

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June 18, 2014

Sharp's new Free-Form Display technology

Sharp's new Free-Form Display technology

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Though we've seen recent moves to make the boring old rectangular LCD display panel a little more interesting by adding some curves, for the most part the screens of our consumer electronics retain a distinctly angular appearance. Sharp has now pulled back the curtain on something called the Free-Form Display, which can be produced in shapes that match the design application – such as a single instrument panel on a car's dashboard that includes the speedo and gauges.

The display prototype showcased today marries the company's IGZO technology with "proprietary circuit design" to allow for the creation of high resolution screens in different shapes and sizes. Sharp says that this is possible thanks to spreading the gate driver's function throughout the pixels of the display area, instead of having the circuit at the perimeter, allowing the bezel to be considerably reduced.

The 12.3-inch Free-Form Display prototype demonstrated by the company hints at potential a...

The 12.3-inch Free-Form Display prototype demonstrated by the company hints at potential automotive implementations, but the design canvas seems pretty much open to wearables, odd-shaped smartphones and tablets, and customized digital signage.

The next step for Sharp is to enter mass production, something it plans to do in the very near future.

Source: Sharp

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Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
5 Comments

I think that is really nice. Perhaps it could also be used on motorcycles and scooters? I think it has potential uses.

BigGoofyGuy
18th June, 2014 @ 09:04 am PDT

30 years ago I designed a digital (Analog) display.

Bob Flint
18th June, 2014 @ 10:39 am PDT

Sort of like when architects design trendy upside down pyramids, sending the structural engineers into a collective wave of eye rolling, sighs and face palms.

For anyone that has done any programming, how easy do you think it would be to program for a display like this? Most microcontrollers would go cross eyed, particularly if the display seamlessly extends to the edge in a nice curve.

Probably the only thing I can think of is that the display would be seen as a single rectangle, with exclusion zones for output.

Nairda
18th June, 2014 @ 06:01 pm PDT

@ Nairda

Not hard enough to make it impractical. The real roadblock, years ago before clock cycles became so cheap, would have been the amount of processing needed to make sure that information wasn't written to nonexistent parts of the screen.

rocketride
19th June, 2014 @ 08:30 am PDT

@Nairda - Obviously, it would be seen as a single rectangle with no need for "exclusion zones for output". Go ahead and write to a nonexistent part of the display... nothing happens.

kalqlate
19th June, 2014 @ 10:09 am PDT
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