While transparent screens can be found in Hollywood movies – from the touch screens in Minority Report to Iron man’s mobile phone – they have yet to find their way into our homes.
However, new ways they could be used coupled with decreased costs may allow transparent screens to become increasingly widespread.
Driving a car requires concentration on the road ahead as well as the ability to track information that the car is continually providing, such as its speed or temperature. In addition, drivers may want to benefit from supplementary information such as maps and driving instructions as well as road conditions and weather.
Using a transparent display as a smart window, visuals can be displayed directly on the windshield so that the driver can benefit from additional information while simultaneously keeping her eyes on the road. Drivers could know what exactly what is besides and behind them without having to turn their head. And as cars become increasingly networked, the smart window could even expand the driver’s vision by displaying the view seen by the truck right in front of the car.
Similarly, these transparent displays are expected to be used in aviation.
Transparent displays could help augmented reality become more realistic. By placing a transparent screen in front of product, information or new services could appear.
For example, the name of a street viewed that is being viewed through a transparent display could appear. Or the menu at a restaurant viewed through the screen could be translated into another language. An object at a museum could provide additional details. Holograms could seemingly come to life through these see-through screens.
At the last ISE show in Amsterdam, one manufacturer wowed the crowds with its 55 inch transparent display. As costs come down, these screens could appear in stores to provide customers with more videos and visual information while not detracting from products. These screens could be used in art galleries, hotel lobbies and high-end stores to provide entertainment while not overshadowing the products..
The IEC has recently published two technical reports about transparent displays.
IEC TR 62977-2-4 provides an overview of application scenarios for transparent displays using the two major display technologies – liquid crystal and organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays.
IEC TR 62977-2-5 provides measuring methods for determining the on-screen and the through-screen properties of transparent displays.