Samsung Makes a Breakthrough in Transparent Display Technology

By Wesley Fenlon

Samsung has the capability to manufacture transparent displays with glass, rather than sapphire, substrates, paving the way for cheaper and larger see-through panels.

Our hearts jump for joy every time a new transparent display pops up in prototype form. LG's already shown off some transparent window displays with embedded touch sensors, and eternal competitor Samsung claims to have made a technological breakthrough that will take large form factor transparent displays to the next level.

Samsung currently uses highly transparent (and highly expensive) sapphire substrates for its see-through displays, but this new breakthrough could make that process obsolete. To do away with sapphire, Samsung has managed to produce large amorphous glass substrates that can be manufactured in larger sizes at lower costs than existing transparent screens.

Samsung predicts that it can replace windows with LED lighting and display screens within 10 years. Developing the transparent material is just one small step towards that future, of course--the LEDs will have to be power efficient and text and icons will have to be visible against all kinds of backlighting.

But wall-size or window-size transparent displays will open up enormous possibilities for design efficiency. Windows will double as TVs, advertising will go absolutely crazy with digital signage, and our computer workspaces are going to look so futuristic.

Too bad we have to wait 10 years for the technology to really be ready, if Samsung's on the money.