They may look like the version of Google Glass for demons, but Toshiba‘s new OLED glasses are in fact more about lighting than wearables, and could even result in cameras that can illuminate subjects directly from their own lens. The Transmissive Single-sided Light Emission OLED Panel tech is Toshiba’s star for SID 2013 this week, Tech-On reports, a new illumination system that allows an OLED screen to simultaneously give out light while being transparent.
Transparent OLEDs aren’t new – we got up close with Samsung’s transparent marketing system back at CES, for instance – and neither is OLED lighting. However, so far the two have been reluctant to play together.
In traditional OLED lighting panels, they’re only transparent when the light is turned off. Powered up, meanwhile, and light is emitted from both sides; that makes for excess power consumption and less control over what gets lit, Toshiba points out.
Toshiba’s system, however, is counter-intuitive in some ways, as it actually uses non-transparent electrodes. In fact, there’s a fine striping pattern of opaque metal electrodes and gaps, with those gaps allowing for “transmissive” light passage. It’s not fully transparent – Toshiba says it’s good for around a 68-percent light transmission rate – but it does mean that one side is light while the other is dark, and even when the OLED is lit up you can still see through.
The expectation is that the 1.4mm-thick OLED screens will be used in applications like advertising, along with goggles that can light up the work area. Aquariums could also be another potential area, though we’d love to see a video light built into a camcorder lens. Brightness of 450 to 800 cd/m2 is possible, with power consumption of 0-7 to 1.6W.
Toshiba will commercialize the technology itself, though it’s unclear when we could see the first products hit the market.