Some of you may have seen our earlier post on the future iPad Looking Glass envisioned by Mac Funamizu. It features a see-through display capable of overlaying digitally-rendered pixels on top of the real objects seen through the transparent glass display. While that gadget may be further down the line, this transparent laptop that Samsung showed off at CES is definitely a big step forward.
Thanks to transparent thin-film transistors (TTFTs) and OLED technology, the circuitry and light-emitting components of the display can be made completely see-through! This is the sort of stuff that nanotechnology enables, tailoring materials and making transparent plastics conductive. Here is a schematic of what these light-emitting pixels look like:
The important point is, all these layers can be made with optically transparent materials. The transparent circuits can also be printed on flexible substrates (like… paper, or your clothes), then these displays can become fully flexible too.
If you are thinking technologies like this must cost a fortune… well, the processes involved in manufacturing an OLED display can potentially be much cheaper than making a LCD. So there you have it, a low-cost, see-through display that is also flexible and will not shatter on impact. If only I had this for my iPhone screen before it went down the stairs…