Menu
Sharp's new LCDs can be almost any shape, could be in your next car

Sharp's new LCDs can be almost any shape, could be in your next car

The company is targeting use in car dashboards and instrument consoles

Sharp's free-form display LCD panel for automotive applications, on show at Ceatec 2014 in Japan on October 7, 2014.

Sharp's free-form display LCD panel for automotive applications, on show at Ceatec 2014 in Japan on October 7, 2014.

Eyeing use in car dashboards and consoles, Sharp has developed an LCD panel that can be cut to almost any shape.

Conventional LCD panels are rectangular -- something that's required because the tiny chips that drive each pixel of the display are fitted along the edge of the glass panel on which the screen is made. In Sharp's new screens, the chips are embedded between the pixels so that means a lot more freedom in screen shape.

There's still a requirement for a single straight edge but the rest of the screen can be cut with, say, curved sides so the display completely fills the dashboard area in front of the driver.

Sharp is showing off several prototype displays at this week's Ceatec expo in Japan. One, intended for use in the central instrument console, has cutouts for buttons while another has a wavy top that curves around three on-screen dials.

Another advantage of the technology is that because the driver chips are embedded alongside the pixels, the space between the edge of the screen and the edge of the glass is very thin, allowing the screen image to go almost right up to the edge.

Sharp, which is a major manufacturer of liquid crystal displays, said the technology is ready for mass production -- it's just waiting for orders from car makers.

But don't expect them next year. Because it takes several years to take a car from concept to commercialization, the screens won't likely be appearing in production models for the next three to five years. Sharp said they'll cost more than rectangular LCDs, but it wouldn't say how much of a premium they will carry.

The automotive industry has been a major focus for electronics companies in the last few years as cars become more high-tech. It's not just the growing use of flat panel displays instead of conventional instrument displays but innovations like all-round view cameras, Internet-connected navigation services and advanced safety systems.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags sharpdisplaysCEATECComponents

Featured

Slideshows

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

New Zealanders kick-started EDGE 2018 with a bout of Super Rugby before a dedicated New Zealand session, in front of more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors on Hamilton Island.‚Äč

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session
EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018 kicked off with a dedicated New Zealand track, highlighting the key customer priorities across the local market, in association with Dell EMC. Delivered through EDGE Research - leveraging Kiwi data through Tech Research Asia - more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors combined during an interactive session to assess the changing spending patterns of the end-user and the subsequent impact to the channel.

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research
Show Comments