Sharp shows two images on one LCD panel

Sharp has developed an LCD panel that can show different images to two viewers simultaneously.

Sharp has developed a new LCD (liquid crystal display) panel that is capable of showing different images when viewed from the right or left hand sides.

The panel, prototypes of which were shown in Tokyo on Thursday, will go into production later this month and make possible television sets on which two people can watch different programs simultaneously, or computer screens capable of giving battling gamers different views of the same game.

The principle behind the technology is simple but putting it into practice required two-and-a-half years of research and development, said Grant Bourhill, director of optical imaging technology at Sharp Laboratories of Europe, where the early development work was carried out. The Sharp lab, in Oxford, England, has been working on three-dimensional viewing technology since 1992 and the new panel is based on similar technology, he said.

3-D screens work by separating images so the left and right eye see slightly different images. The new LCD does much the same thing but the direction in which the two images are sent is wider and means that, for example, a car navigation display can show a map when viewed from the driver's seat and a TV show when viewed from the passenger seat.

The two-image screen displays parts of each in alternate columns of pixels, so that the odd numbered columns contain one image, and the even-numbered columns the other. Thin black vertical lines printed on a sheet of plastic in front of the display obscure the even-numbered columns when viewed from one side, and the odd-numbered columns when viewed from the other, so the image seen depends on the viewing position.

If the same image is displayed on both odd and even columns, the screen resembles a normal LCD panel. While the vertical black lines can make the display appear darker than normal, Sharp says this can be overcome by using a more powerful backlight.

There is one drawback: as alternate columns are used for each image the resulting pictures have a lower resolution.

Thursday's announcement didn't include details of any products that will use the panels, although Sharp said it is considering using the panels in its own products and also talking with other companies who may want to use the panels in their own equipment. Pricing details were also not disclosed except to say that such panels should cost less than double the price of a current panel.

At the same time, Sharp also announced a second panel based on a similar concept. This has a switching liquid crystal material that makes it possible to control the viewing angle of the screen. In normal use the display appears as a conventional screen but when switched it restricts the viewing angle so the image can be seen from more-or-less directly in front. From the sides people see a pattern that obscures the main image.

Sharp expects such displays, which will also go into production in July, to be popular in bank ATMs, cell phones and lap top computers to prevent nearby people from reading what's on the screen.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?