July 15, 2005 – Sharp Corp. said yesterday that it has developed a thin-film-transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel that can simultaneously display two different images depending on whether it is viewed from the right or from the left, according to various foreign news reports.
For example, the single screen can display a television broadcast for viewers seeing it from the right, while showing Internet content for those viewing from the left, Sharp officials said. This product, called the “two-way viewing angle LCD,” uses a number of proprietary technologies such as parallax barrier technology, which controls the directions in which light leaves the display.
When used in a car navigation system, for example, the driver would be able to see roadmap information while someone sitting in the passenger’s seat can watch a television program, all on a single screen, according to the firm. This allows two full-screen images to be displayed at the same time. When a user wants to view the screen from the front, the same content is displayed on both the right and left sides.
Using a similar technology, Sharp has also developed a TFT-LCD panel that can electronically switch the angle at which the screen can be viewed to “narrow” from “wide” and vice-versa. The panel under the narrow-viewing mode releases light directly forward so screens cannot be peeped at from the side. This technology is expected to help enhance security and privacy by preventing others from seeing the screen when a user in entering a PIN at an ATM or reading e-mail on a laptop computer, for example.
Sharp will begin mass production of the two types of TFT LCD panels this month. Both of these technologies can be applied regardless of LCD size, according to the company.