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MIT Turns Any Transparent Surface Into A Display Screen [Video]

MIT Turns Any Transparent Surface Into A Display Screen [Video]

Nanoparticles embedded in sheets of plastic could offer a new medium of advertisements in the future.

Serena Chu

Heads-up displays might offer drivers or pilots the convenience of viewing the dashboard while keeping an eye on the road simultaneously, but there are limitations. Unless the person positions his head in direct viewing of the projected data, these holographic screens almost serve no purpose. Luckily, researchers at MIT have found an alternative. Instead of using mirrors to reflect data images onto the user’s eyes or glasses, the development team, lead by professors Marin Soljacic and John Joannopoulos, embedded nanoparticles into transparent material to create a more versatile and flexible screen.


To display images in their true colors, the particles are “tuned” to various wavelengths, letting only certain colors or light pass through, while letting all the rest shine right through.

As a demonstration of their system, the team chose to use silver nanoparticles. “The glass will look almost perfectly transparent,” Soljačić says, “because most light is not of that precise wavelength” that the nanoparticles are designed to scatter. While much work still needs to be done, this new HUD has the potential of turning any store window or the windows of a subway train into a transparent billboard, allowing for cheap ways to display alerts or advertisements.

The video below is MIT’s proof-of-concept, check it out.


Source: Gigaom, MIT

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