Print 27 comment(s) - last by theapparition.. on Apr 2 at 11:50 AM

New transparent OLED displays could lead to navigation systems built into car windshields

For many the ideal form of in car electronics like GPS navigation systems and entertainment devices like TVs would be clear devices that only show up when in use. This type of technology could create GPS navigation display embedded into the windshield of a car so you can see a map without having to take your eyes off the road.

Researchers at Purdue University have created the first active matrix display that uses a new class of transparent transistors and circuits. The researchers say this is a first step towards flexible color monitors and “heads-up displays” in car windshields.

The transistors used in the display are made of nanowires, which are tiny cylindrical structures assembled on thin glass or plastic films. The nanowires used by the researchers for the display are as small as 20 nanometers or about a thousand times thinner than the average human hair.

The nanowires were used to create an OLED display that rivals current flat-panel TVs in brightness. David Janes, a researcher from Purdue University’s Birk Nanotechnology center and a professor at the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said, “This is a step toward demonstrating the practical potential of nanowire transistors in displays and for other applications.”

The researchers were able to show how to fabricate nanowire electronics at room temperature in a process that could be practical for commercial manufacturing according to Tobin J. Marks, a researcher working on the project.

The current production process for OLED electronics is complex and costly making OLED TVs and other OLED electronic devices difficult to make. This manufacturing difficulty is part of the reason Sony’s XEL-1 OLED TV cost so much and is in such short supply.

The researchers also say that the technology they have developed has uses other than displays. They say the technology could also be used to create antennas that aim microwave and radio signals more precisely than current antennas. These new antennas could make cell phone reception better and make eavesdropping on military communications more difficult.

One major challenge remains according to the researchers before the technology they developed can rival current TVs. Janes says, “Displays in television sets are able to illuminate a particular pixel located, say, in the 10th row, fifth column. We aren't able to do that yet. We've shown that we can select a whole row at a time, not a single OLED, but we're getting close."

The researchers created their nanowire transistors out of a semiconductor called indium oxide, considered a potential replacement for silicon in future transparent circuits. Electrodes used in the OLEDs are made up of these transistors and electrodes made from indium tin oxide and plastic capacitors.

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By MrBlastman on 4/1/2008 4:04:05 PM , Rating: 4
Cell phones, now GPS and TV units - made easier to be distracted with.

Ok ok - that is an opinion... But lets try this for a real question/point:

Even if you have the image displayed on your windscreen via a clear LCD display, you still have to change your eyes focus to watch the image or to view outside the windshield.

In the military, they get over this problem with how the HUD functions - it is essentially a collimated display which puts the focal point for the visual data being shown as a point out into infinity, thereby releasing your eyes from the need to constantly change focal lengths.

This will give you an unhindered view of the outside world.

This technology, however, will not do that as it creates an up-close focal point and a farther away one which is the outside world. I see it as more distracting than useful.

Also, what about the people who utilize it on their viewscreen at night - it will cause their eyes to have to adapt to light and dark. They could provide sensors to auto-dim/adjust the intensity of the screen to a degree but I think it will still be a distraction.

I think I'd opt for a collimated display far before we utilize this technology. At least then you eliminate precious wasted milliseconds of time (and as you get older your eyes take longer and longer re-focus).

Either way - nifty technological idea. I think it will be great for many things but I think there are better solutions for providing a HUD in a car.

By FITCamaro on 4/1/2008 4:17:01 PM , Rating: 5
You're not looking at the potential here. We can put sensors in cars that detect cell phone usage and put a message along the bottom of the windshield that says "HANG UP AND DRIVE!!!"

Seriously though, with the right technology, this could be used to highlight potential threats to the driver on the windshield.

By therealnickdanger on 4/1/2008 4:21:36 PM , Rating: 3
The current Corvette has the option of displaying telemetry data on the windshield to keep your eyes on the road and not looking down at the dash. It works pretty frickin sweet.

By root mean sq on 4/1/2008 5:02:35 PM , Rating: 3
kinda like the cars from children of men. i always thought that was cool. a vitrual dasboard at the bottom of your windscreen seems like a more practical application. Maybe soon minivans will come with the passenger windows as OLED screens to watch DVDs on, and the kiddies can dial up or down on the transparency depending on whether or not they wanna see the scenery. or u can put them in the windows and seperator in a limo and make it seem like you're in a submarine!!

or maybe i'm daydreaming too much...

By FITCamaro on 4/1/2008 7:53:59 PM , Rating: 2
Been an option in cadillacs and pontiacs for years as well buddy.

By fic2 on 4/1/2008 9:07:54 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think a whole lot of people look at their dash. I live in a downtown area and you wouldn't believe the amount of idiots I see driving at night without their lights on. If they looked at their dash occasionally they might see that it isn't lit and turn their lights on.

By theapparition on 4/2/2008 11:50:29 AM , Rating: 2
It was an option on the older generation (C5 corvettes from 98 on.
It works pretty frickin sweet.

Yes....yes it does.

By MrBlastman on 4/1/2008 4:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
hahaha I like the hang up and drive :)

The potential threats is a nifty idea, though it'd require expensive sensors in the front of the car, I can see that being very useful over time.

You could also superimpose a FLIR image on the viewscreen which WOULD be pretty darned cool - heck, a FLIR image on each window (assuming you utilize multiple sensors facing in different directions with varying FOV's). This would allow night driving without headlights.

The military has been superimposing FLIR onto the HUD for years (but notsomuch anymore with the advances in independent headgear - aka goggles).

Just keep the TV and Pron off of the windshield.

If you don't - they might have to come up with wipers for INSIDE the car.

By uhgotnegum on 4/1/2008 5:07:27 PM , Rating: 5
I know that Blastman won't like this, but boy would I love being able to text the car next to me and be able to say, "for the love of God, the turn signal is less than a finger's length away!" The potential here is endless...

"YOU! Learn to navigate a four-way stop!"
"Hey...old guy...the speed limit is 20 mph faster."
"Why would you buy a car that looks like a police cruiser? That's just stupid."
"I'd just like to thank you for letting me listen to your bass...not the rest of your music, just the thumping, repetitious, worthless-by-itself bass."

and my personal favorite...
"If you are being passed on the right side, get your oblivious *** out of the left lane!"

By AmishElvis on 4/1/2008 5:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
I've said for years that the driver's cell phone number should be posted on the outside of every car. Maybe replace the license plate.

By FITCamaro on 4/1/2008 7:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
I'd get arrested for my comments to people...

By noxipoo on 4/1/2008 4:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
its ok, don't you know they will all get brain cancer and die?

By DeepBlue1975 on 4/1/2008 4:49:43 PM , Rating: 2
I don't say GPS navigation systems and the likes...
But think for a moment this could be used to create a image on your windscreen, showing the information of your car's navigation computer and information like...

- Instantaneous speed in a meter/second dial (why the stupid miles/kilometers per hour measurement? If you have an obstacle some meters ahead you'd rather instantly know how many meters you're doing each second than each hour)
- distance till the next gas stop,
- relative velocity to the front vehicle (or fixed obstacle) and rear vehicle,
- two arrows at each side which should showing the proximity of a car/obstacle at each side
- warning lights
- acceleration in +-m/s^2
- distance required for braking to full stop from current speed given current braking acceleration
- wind speed and direction relative to the car's front

And you could see that much faster in the lower part of the windshield than by gazing down to to dashboard (and hence fully taking your sight off the road)

Yeah, maybe it's a bit too much the kind of info I'm saying, but I'd really like to have that info available in a car instead of the stupid km/h measurement and the marginally more useful RPM indicator, aside from the fuel and temperature gauge dials.

By DRMichael on 4/1/2008 5:23:09 PM , Rating: 4
They offered HUD in the Nissan 300ZX. Does anyone know what stopped the progress?

By ikkeman on 4/1/2008 6:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
What about the potential to hack through the WIFI of your car (sync by M$) and get the windschreen to flicker.
A futuristic, geek version of the drive by shooting.

Good side - this may stop poeple from playing their music at annoying levels - You'll never know wheter the car next to you holds a killer geek!

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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