August 19, 2011

LOVE A BAKER? BREAK HIS WINDOW FOR HIM:

When is a Window also a Touch Screen?: When Toyota, Fiat, and Cadillac decide the old-fashioned, noninteractive car window isn't good enough. (David Zax 07/30/2011, Technology Review)

We are entering an age when an image surrounded by a frame -- on your laptop, on your TV, on your tablet -- is almost expected to be interactive. Why then, hasn't that happened yet with windows? Several projects in the works, from car companies and designers, envision a time in the not-too-distant future when windows will be more like touchscreens. [...]

[Glasgow University's project] is slightly different -- rather than serving as a souped-up Gameboy to pacify the impatient passenger, GU wants to make the next generation of "heads-up displays" already familiar from the world of military aviation. These would be computer-screen like windshields for the driver of the vehicle to glean data (speed, fuel levels), without having to take his or her eyes off the road.

As The Engineer recently reported, it's a quest that's involving researchers across Europe, including the automaker Fiat and the glassmaker Saint-Gobin. At the heart of the project is an effort to commercialize 3-D nanostructures on the windows surface that "affect the brightness and direction of the light." Rather than projecting the display on the windshield, LEDs would emit light at the windshield's edge; the nanostructures imprinted on the glass would then emit the light in the proper locations to display information. The whole process would be more energy efficient than an old-school projection method. If the project works, it could also lead to brighter LED screens and even "dumb" windows that nonetheless let in more natural light (hence Saint-Gobin's interest).


Posted by at August 19, 2011 6:15 AM
  

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