World's Thinnest Display uses a Soap Bubble and Ultrasound

© University of Tokyo

Our current thin-screen technology is already pretty amazing, but could you imagine someday watching a video on a screen made from a bubble? If the work of a team of researchers on their "Colloidal Display" system continues, you may very well see some incredible advances in display technology in the near future.

Researchers Yoichi Ochiai (University of Tokyo), Keisuke Toyoshima (University of Tsukuba), and Alexis Oyama (Carnegie Mellon University) have developed the "world's thinnest transparent display" which uses a screen made from soap film and uses ultrasound to add texture and 3D qualities to the display.

"It is common knowledge that the surface of soap bubble is a micro membrane. It allows light to pass through and displays the colour on its structure. We developed an ultra-thin and flexible BRDF screen using the mixture of two colloidal liquids. There have been several researches on dynamic BRDF display in the past. However, our work is different in several points. Our membrane screen can be controlled using ultrasonic vibrations. Membrane can change its transparency and surface states depending on the scales of ultrasonic waves. Based on these facts, we developed several applications of the membranes such as 3D volume screen. The combination of the ultrasonic waves and ultra thin membranes makes more realistic, distinctive, and vivid imageries on screen." - Colloidal Display

© University of Tokyo

Here's a look at the new technology:

Could this new innovation in display technology be the road to greener displays? At first look, while this type of display only uses the surface of the soap film as a display, using less material than a traditional display, it's yet to be seen if the ultrasound and other equipment needed to fully deploy the display unit are less resource-intensive and feasible in 'real-world' applications. And of course, the question of whether or not it makes sense to have a display which can accidentally be 'popped' is another aspect to be dealt with (considering how hard we are on our other devices, it's difficult to see how these soap bubble screens would be a realistic option - at least at the moment).

What do you think? Is the colloidal display something we can look toward for greener displays, or is it just a cool science trick?

Tags: Gadgets | Technology

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