Here Comes a Cheap, Fully Transparent Display

MIT’s completely transparent display technology could change the how and where of information consumption.

MIT, display, transparent, nanoparticles, OLED, TV, informationFor years automotive, aerospace and futurists of all stripes have been hard at work trying to develop a cheap, completely transparent display. While some successes have been made, a recent announcement by MIT has flipped the script on what we can expect from transparent displays.

Currently, most transparent displays control organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) with electronics integrated directly into the display. While that solution certainly works it’s extremely difficult to manufacture, creates exorbitantly expensive systems and limits the transparency of the display.

To design their novel display technology, MIT Professor Marin Soljačić and his group at the Research Laboratory of Electronics embedded commercially available nanoparticles in glass. With their glass chock full of 60 nanometer long silver particulate, each particle was tuned to scatter a precise wavelength in the blue spectrum of light and project it onto a display.

As a demonstration of their display, researchers projected two animated shorts. While still only a proof of concept, MIT researchers believe that their technology can be refined to reflect green, red and blue light, the three primary colors which make up the base of all full color displays. What’s more, since the new tech doesn’t contain any electronic components it’s relatively cheap to produce and could be incorporated into a thin film that could be applied to any transparent surface.

If full color transparent displays could be made on the cheap then aerospace, automotive, eyewear and a plethora of other industries could begin to develop novel heads up displays that broadcast interactive information onto any transparent surface. Whether that’s a good thing or not, though, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Image and Video Courtesy of MIT