Sharp puts LCDs into perspective with simultaneous dual displays

No smoke but a few mirrors. Sharp has been showing off its new LCD technology and uses mirrors to demonstrate the clever things that can now be done with viewing angles.

Sharp puts LCDs into perspective with simultaneous dual displays

As well as a monitor that can switch its viewing angle from wide to narrow – to ensure the private display of information – the Japanese electronics giant has also developed a screen that can display one thing when viewed from the right and another when viewed from the left.

The new LCD (pictured top), when used for television, could certainly solve living room disputes such as whether to watch an investigative documentary on third world gender politics on BBC2 or the latest Coronation Street Omnibus on ITV1. Both will be possible as long as the viewers sit well apart (the mirror shows the image the viewer on the left would see).

Sound is still a problem of course, but no doubt the boffins are working on that as we write… More seriously, possible uses of the LCD include the display of a TV broadcast on the right screen, while displaying an Internet browser, or other application, on the left screen. Another option mooted by Sharp is an ‘in-vehicle display’ where the driver may view a map but the passenger views a DVD movie. The possibilities are endless. Almost.

According to Sharp, the system works by ‘superimposing a parallax barrier on a TFT LCD to cause the light from the backlight to separate into right and left directions’. This makes possible a display in which the view differs depending on the angle at which the screen is viewed.

Moving on, possible uses for the anti-snooping, switchable-angle LCD (pictured below) include notebooks that preserve the privacy of user info when travelling on trains and planes and such like. Another use may be in ATM-like machines, which will employ the narrow angle when a customer is entering their personal details, and will use the wide angle for general advertising when the terminal is not in use.

It works by overlaying a switching liquid crystal material on an ordinary TFT LCD, which prevents light from going out to the left or right, thus turning a wide viewing angle to a narrow viewing angle.

Both LCDs are about to go into mass production.

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