Watch: Sony R&D Playing With Projected Light Field And Transparent Displays

April 28, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Hat Tip Ed Tang for noting this on Linkedin

I have nowhere near the technical chops/smarts to explain this properly, but Sony has a post up on a corporate R&D site talking about work in a company lab in Tokyo focused on light field-like and transparent displays.

The Linkedin description from Sony says:

Sony has been working on the development of a transparent screen display with the intention of providing new video experiences that cannot be realized with LCD, OLED, or other conventional flat displays. As an initial step, a cylindrical transparent screen display was announced at SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics), the international conference and exhibition. It is anticipated that this technology will be used for applications such as next generation AI speakers to achieve an unprecedented level of communication.

The speaker reference is to smart speakers for consumers that could have a lava-lamp kind of top to them, with a clear cylinder that shows motion projections that appear to be floating inside. That could maybe – big maybe – have commercial applications. But what caught my eye was a second, less sexy iteration of the display tech that is flat but shows on clear glass.

Says Sony:

To further expand the range of applications of transparent screens, we are also currently developing flat-type transparent screen displays. The newest prototype achieved 3,000 cd/m² of luminance and over 85% transparency despite using a smaller projector, thereby realizing a high-luminance video display even in a bright environment. We also expect it will assist in promoting new types of communication such as data indication at retail checkouts and face-to-face consultations in the finance field as well as real-time caption displays for the hearing impaired.

Who knows what the coming months and years will bring, but if we are in a world where glass and clear plastic dividers are standard for customer/guest interactions in places like retail and food services, being able to use that surface to communicate is attractive. As noted, 3,000 nits is going to be plenty bright inside most of these kinds of environments.

Here’s a video that includes some explanations – like “interference fringes” – that are about 30 miles over my big, near-empty head.


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