LG Engineers Speak About Transparent and Flexible Screens

Two of LG Display’s chief research engineers have spoken about upcoming display technology with the Wall Street Journal ( Lee Bu-yeol is LGD’s chief research engineer for transparent displays and Park Weon-seo is the chief research engineer for flexible displays.

Transparent smartphones would be difficult to produce, said Lee, as all components would need to be see-through. More likely applications for transparent displays would be wearable devices like smartwatches (like Longshine’s Halo watch (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 40)), or car windows. Windscreens are bound by very strict legislation regarding clarity, but side windows are less so. Transparent screens could also be used in TVs, to make rooms seem more spacious – although screens in this size are some years off. Lee believes that transparent TVs will first be produced in 55″ and 60″ sizes.

LG Display’s transparent displays currently have a clarity of about 30%: similar to a car window with ‘a slight tan’. The plan is to raise clarity to 40% by 2017. Regular glass has about 92% clarity, but this would be very difficult to achieve with a display without a new breakthrough.

In terms of flexible displays for TVs, Park sees this technology enabling rollable models. These would be easy to transport, although will have some issues (like speaker locations). LGD’s current technology will enable flexible screens up to 70″ or 80″ sizes. Looking to mobile, Park said that foldable screens will be next: one fold to become a large-screen smartphone and two folds for a tablet-size device.