Computerized transparent TVs could adapt tunable tinting technology that still lets light in

06/10/2015 - 00:00

Kirk Nankivell

A press release from Samsung yesterday seems to indicate our futuristic fantasies of computerized transparent screens are getting closer to production.  Even though Samsung seems to be focusing more on the interactive shopping , virtual fitting rooms, etc. concept of the technology, these future screens could be coupled with tunable tinting to really showcase a smart window concept. 

In research published today from the University of Cincinnati, researchers found they were able to "dynamically adapt for brightness, color temperatures and opacity" while enabling light from outside to still permeate the room.  Simply put, an outside observer would see dark tinted windows, while the people inside could enjoy the sunny light coming in from the windows.

Such a smart window enables a vast amount of possibilities from letting certain amounts of light in the morning for a gentle wake up to showing local weather forecasts, social media updates, IFTTT recipes, and many other opportunities.

Watching seemingly dumb objects such as windows become smart and part of the Internet of Things (eventually the Internet of Everything) is a lot more exciting than it seems.

Ref:  Electrokinetic pixels with biprimary inks for color displays and color-temperature-tunable smart windows.  Applied Optics (2015) | DOI: 10.1364/AO.54.005603 | PDF


We report on the advanced implementation of the biprimary color system in applications where subtractive color is performed inside a single pixel to alter the magnitude and color of reflection (electronic paper displays) or the optical transmission and color temperature (smart windows). A novel device structure can switch between four states: clear, black, either of two complementary colors from RGB and CMY sets, and also mixed states between one of these four states. The device structure utilizes an electrokinetic pixel structure, which combines the spectral performance of in-plane electrophoretic devices with the improved switching speeds of vertical electrophoresis. The electrophoretic dispersions are dual-particle dual-colored and are controlled using two traditional planar electrokinetic electrodes on the front and back substrates, along with a third electrode conveniently located at the perimeter of each unit cell. Demonstrated performance includes contrast ratios reaching ∼10∶1, reflectance of ∼62%, and transparency of ∼75%. For electronic paper displays, these results provide a pathway to double the reflective performance compared to the traditional RGBW color-filter approach. For smart windows, the technology provides not only control of shade (transmission) but also provides complete control over color temperature. Furthermore, this three-electrode device can be roll-to-roll fabricated without need for any alignment steps, requiring only a single micro-replication step followed by self-aligned contact printing of the third electrode.