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Bubbles used to create the thinnest transparent display on the planet

A few years back, the focus was on physical size when it came to electronics, the smaller the device the better, provided functionality remained intact. With the rise of smartphones, this focus has somewhat shifted and as great as devices like the Xperia Mini are, media consumption now plays a much heavy role in the smartphone experience, giving rise to the pursuit of thickness instead, or rather, thinness in order to support larger displays without adding bulk.

Thinner technologies especially with regards to components like screens, have become the focus of many manufacturers, but in this latest development it’s not just thinness where this technology wins out, its transparency too. A team of researchers at the Tokyo University have developed a display made out of a bubble, not unlike the ones which you found in your party bag as a child.

Colloidal Display

The team have in truth developed their own bubble mixture which is harder to pop than your conventional bubble, but as such, they can control its optical properties using high frequency speakers without it breaking. As the BBC point out, aside from its thickness, the advantages of transparent displays in general is that they support alpha channels, meaning the input could feature overlay graphics on the environment around them as well as being using to display a standard image.

The technology demoed here is known as a colloidal display which can be structured in any form with so long as its frame has a continuous edge. Its transparency and reflectivity can also be controlled by varying the resonance from the speakers. Based on the tests shown in the video above, the quality of the image on the bubble is subjective, but as the technology progresses, there’s every chance that it could make its way into applications like windows, computers and even mobile devices.


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