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This new ultrathin, energy-efficient 3D LCD display technology could be in your future TV or flexible e-book

October 24, 2014 | Telepresence Options


In this concept of a LCD display, light is twisted in different directions to make the image appear three-dimensional (credit: Abhishek Kumar Srivastava)

Story and images by Kurzweil

Images stay on for years without power

Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have invented an ultra-thin LCD screen capable of displaying images without a sustained power source and in 3D, making it a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

In a traditional liquid crystal display (LCD), liquid crystal molecules are sandwiched between polarized glass plates. Electrodes pass current through the apparatus, influencing the orientation of the liquid crystals inside and manipulating the way they interact with the polarized light. The light and dark sections of the readout display are controlled by the amount of current flowing into them.

The new displays use an optically rewritable liquid crystal display (ORWLCD) design, so they don't require electrodes, making the screen thinner and decreasing its energy requirements. Once an image is "painted" on the screen with light, no power is required to keep it there for several years. These "bi-stable" displays draw power only when the image is changed, so they are especially useful for applications where a screen displays a static image for most of the time, such as e-book readers or battery status monitors for electronic devices.

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