Scientists at MIT are developing new transparent display technology that involves embedding nanoparticles in glass. The research is detailed in the paper Nature Communications, which explains that transparent displays could be used to view images and video on glass or embed displays in car windshields, such as GPS systems. Previous systems like Garmin’s HUDs would project graphics onto the windshield but MIT claims its new development is much more efficient by not being limited in the angle view.
“The eyes must be in exactly the right position in order to see the image at all,” writes David L. Chandler from MIT’s news office. “With the new system, the image appears on the glass itself, and can be seen from a wide array of angles.”
Nanoparticles inside the transparent material are tuned to scatter only certain wavelengths, colors or light. This allows only what is intended to show and for now, researchers can display one color at a time.
Marin Soljačić, one of the co-authors of the study has urged that the current development is a proof-of-concept and the next step for researchers is to optimize the system.
“The particles could be incorporated in a thin, inexpensive plastic coating applied to the glass, much as tinting is applied to car windows,” says MIT. “This would work with commercially available laser projectors or conventional projectors that produce the specified color.”
The study was co-authored by MIT professors Marin Soljačić and John Joannopoulos with graduate student Chia Wei Hsu.