Photonics West: Floating display technology debuts in North America


Information control/HMI; System integration/control components

A new floating display technology from Schott uses glass fibers to make images on LCDs and OLEDs appear to float on top of the faceplate covering them. The development was introduced to the North American market at Photonics West last month.

A new floating display technology uses glass fibers to make images on LCDs and OLEDs appear to float on top of the faceplate covering them. The development, from Schott , said to improve visibility, functionality, and appearance, was introduced to the North American market in January at Photonics West

Although the floating display faceplates look much like conventional plastic and glass ones, says the company, they actually consist of millions of 0.025 mm glass fibers. The thin fibers guide light from the display to the viewer, making it appear as if the text and images on the display are floating on top of the faceplate, even though they are actually behind it. By guiding the light from the display, the technology also improves visibility of the display in bright light.

"When people see this for the first time, they are absolutely amazed," said Dr. Burkhard Danielzik, general manager for business development for fiber optics at Schott. "Companies will be able to use the technology to produce displays that are more functional, more attractive and more stylish."

Schott says it believes the technology could be used to build better displays for various types of handheld devices and for displays where readability, especially in daylight, is essential. It cites as an example the background lighting used for automobile navigation systems and other automobile displays that produce a lot of scattered light. The scattered light illuminates the car interior and makes it difficult to see outside the car at night. Floating display faceplates would reduce scattered light so that text and images only light up in the direction of the driver. This same optical effect would enhance readability of automobile displays in daylight and improve their brilliance and contrast.

—Edited by Jeanine Katzel , senior editor , Control Engineering

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