Sharp Introduces Dual-View LCD

Electronics maker Sharp on Thursday unveiled a new LCD screen that will allow it to display two different images depending on the angle it is viewed from. Production of the screen begins this month, and the new LCD could be used in applications such as automobiles where such a feature would be useful.

To make the dual-view technology work, the screen sends light from the backlight in two different directions, each showing a different picture. However, if need be, it can be switched to operate as a normal screen where everyone can see the same image regardless of the angle viewed.

Sharp envisions several applications, such as an in-vehicle display where the drivers side shows a GPS map while the passenger side shows a movie. A professional monitor could show information to a client while sales personnel see internal information.

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The screens could also be used for advertisements in which passerbys see a different ad depending on the way they approach.

Using similar technology, Sharp has also developed a snoop-proof LCD screen that prevents light from going to the left or right. The feature could be controlled by an on/off switch in computers and laptops, or could be used permenantly in public Internet terminals or ATM machines.

A shifting liquid crystal material makes this feature possible by preventing light from going to the left or right. When the user is done viewing sensitive information, they could switch back to a normal setting where all persons could view the images on the screen regardless of location.

However, the technology is not quite perfect: standing in front of the two-way LCD when it is in dual screen mode causes the images to overlap. Another problem is how users would deal with sound; Sharp recommends the use of headphones to combat the problem.

The new displays should hit the market later this year.

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