MIT shows off transparent display that could lead to next-gen HUDs

Jan 22, 2014

There are a lot of technologies being investigated around the world to help reduce driver distraction and bring a new level of interactivity to infotainment systems in cars. One of those technologies is the heads up display. A group of researchers from MIT has created a new type of transparent data display system that could lead to next generation HUDs that are cheaper and easy to manufacture.

The researchers say that the new transparent display could be integrated onto the windshield of a car, aircraft windshields, windows, glasses, and more. The transparent display has wide viewing angles, simple manufacturing process, and a potential for low cost and scalability.

The team says that many of the current HUDs use a mirror or beam splitter to project imaged into the user's eyes. These systems are limited in their angle of view since the eyes have to be positioned correctly to view the information. The display that the MIT team invented uses nanoparticles embedded in a transparent material. The tiny particles scatter light at certain wavelength or colors letting the remainder of the light pass through.

That allows the glass to remain transparent and easy to see through with a single color clearly visible on the glass. The nanoparticles used in the demo are silver nanoparticles about 60nm across that produce a blue image. The team says that it should be possible to create full color images using the same technique. The researchers also see this tech being used to display images on store windows and for other uses. The nanoparticles could be applied to a thin plastic coating that is applied to glass similar to tinting the windows of a car. The film could be used with commercial laser or normal projectors that produce the specified color of light. It's unclear when or if the technology might come to the commercial market.


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