Sharp Unveils Curvy Free-Form Display Concept

June 18, 2014 by Dave Haynes


The Japanese electronics firm Sharp has unveiled what it calls its Free-Form Display, new technology that gets screens out of boxy shapes,

Instead, you get displays with curves and angles that fit the design application.

Sharp says free-form displays can be shaped to meet a wide range of user needs thanks to the incorporation of IGZO technology and proprietary circuit design methods. Conventional displays are rectangular because they require a minimal width for the bezel in order to accommodate the drive circuit, called the gate driver, around the perimeter of the screen’s display area.

With the Free-Form Display, the gate driver’s function is dispersed throughout the pixels on the display area. This allows the bezel to be shrunk considerably, and it gives the freedom to design the LCD to match whatever shape the display area of the screen needs to be.

For in-vehicle applications, for example, this development makes it possible to have a single instrument panel on the car dashboard that combines a speedometer and other monitors. There are other possibilities for displays with sophisticated designs: these include wearable devices with elliptical displays and digital signage and other large monitors that draw the viewer into the onscreen world.

Sharp plans to enter the mass-production stage for the Free-Form Display at the earliest possible date.

So … in theory, you could have displays that take the shape of the leaves of trees, without it being a larger rectangular screen in behind the cutout leaf area. You could have circles and ovals or whatever the design cooks up.

Interesting, though specialty shapes plus low production runs inevitably equals BIG unit costs. This will work well for guys like automakers who need 1.5 million new Corolla dashboards.

Nonetheless, cool to see something truly new in display technology.

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