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back to article HP patents teleprompter-esque transparent screen tech

HP has bagged a US patent on its way of making a see-through screen, which will let users see stuff onscreen as well as whatever's behind it. Diagram from HP's see-through patent The tech biggun isn't saying that it came up with the idea of a see-through screen or it should be the only one to have one, it's just made sure …

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Anonymous Coward

I used to

I used to draw pictures like that when I was 3, wish I'd thought to patent them.

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Simple as..

1. Identify product

2. Identify blindingly obvious ways that the product might be improved

3. Patent improvement and wait (preferably under a bridge with a band of lawyers)

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Hate to burst your bubble...

"The see-through screen is already showing up in movies, so naturally it's only a matter of time before we actually get one."

They've been around in real life for ages, I first encountered them at a motor show in the NEC something like ten years ago, one of the manufacturers had overhead protectors trained onto glass panels on stands, it was quite effective.

OK, not strictly speaking "screen" technology, more like "display" technology, but it was a valid solution to the problem, just not suitable for general usage.

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Silver badge

Re: Hate to burst your bubble...

I was working on avionics 'head up displays' as long ago as 1973..

its all bollocks really.

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Stop

Lots of stupid shit is in movies

Mostly because it looks cool, and transparent displays certainly look cool, but in the real world they won't be, they'll be anti privacy screens which become hard or impossible to use whenever someone switches the light on or stands behind them wearing a white shirt.

"No one look please, I'm logging into [my Bank / Facebook / Porn]"

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Questionable utility

Aside from the well promoted example of augmented reality in a smartphone for mapping, there isn't much use for this. Who wants a screen you can see through on your computer? What use could it possibly have? I don't want to see my wall behind my screen, and if it had it in front of a window I'd certainly not want the distraction of seeing what is happening outside when I'm trying to read something.

I think it would be far easier to have the rear camera on a smartphone create the illusion of a transparent screen, without inventing stuff like transparent batteries that no one ever seems to remember are also required for a smartphone to have a transparent screen. There are already texting apps that do this so you can see where you're going when walking and texting. Keeps you from walking into fountains or down manholes and ending up on youtube!

One big thing in favor of using the rear camera is that it can be turned off. Which any reasonable person would want about 99% of the time.

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Boffin

Re: Questionable utility

"....What use could it possibly have?...." Think of head up displays in aircraft, that allow the pilot to see both information from the instruments whilst also having their heads up so they are looking out of the cockpit. The same is being tried in cars but the problem is they relie on a projector lamp shining the picture onto an optically flat panel angled at 45%, which is a hazard in a crash. Early RAF reflector gunsights that used the same principle were half-jokingly called "humane killers" by the pilots due to the large number of serious facial injuries the pilots received bashing into the sight during forcelandings. If you can remove the projector by having angled slats in the display then the whole device becomes much less bulky and can be safely mounted in cars. Cornering the car market early would be very profitable.

Another use would be in head-mounted displays like the Google Glass project, the new tech would make the resulting screens much slimmer. Or on motorcycle helmets, with the display being on the visor, so motorbike riders can spend all the time looking for hazards and still see their speed, fuel level, navigation display, etc. Or advertising displays built into train and bus windows so the passengers can see the ads and still see outside.

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Re: Questionable utility

"there isn't much use for this". Seriously?

One the big growth areas right now is mobile, closely related to location-based apps. This tech provides the means of seamlessly overlaying the two.

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Re: Questionable utility

You can already do that using the rear camera, without needing any advances in screen technology nor battery technology to do so. And your fingers won't get in the way of your view (unless you have them covering the camera)

My point is not that being able to overlay graphics and real world view is useless, just that the idea of a transparent display for personal use is. Do you really want to look through your phone at all times? How easy is reading text going to be on a transparent screen? Sounds like trying to read text written on a projector transparency held in your hands. Ugh!

So you'll need some mechanism to block the ambient light from the back of your device 99% of the time. If so, why go to all the hassle and expense of equipping it with a transparent screen and transparent battery (or I suppose a super advanced battery that's 10x more energy dense so all the electronics + battery can be hidden in the bezel surrounding the screen)

Obviously there are commercial uses for this, like for advertising - though only advertisers will be excited about this. Who really wants to look out an airplane window as you're coming in for a landing and have the view overlayed with the locations of McDonalds in the area? Or ads for tours of landmarks showing up as you pass over them? Or worse yet, totally unrelated ads, like a Coke ad that keeps pulsating next to you in your window seat at 35,000 feet for four hours? For personal use, I stand by my claim that it is useless. No one will want this on their computer monitor or TV, and on phones or tablets it can be and already is being accomplished via the rear camera.

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Alert

Re: Questionable utility

Or advertising displays built into train and bus windows so the passengers can see the ads and still see outside.

Yup ... that's what this tech will be used for. All the great things it COULD do; Sadly however it WILL be used to shill shaving cream & cheap holidays

I weep for my species

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Boffin

Re: Re: Questionable utility

"....Sadly however it WILL be used to shill shaving cream & cheap holidays...." You need to remember that hp is just like every company - in it to make a profit. No profits tends to mean no company (just ask ex-Sun employees). Whilst advertising hoardings may not make you thrill with anticipation, application in such areas will make the resulting displays so cheap that they will become a practical proposition for more noble/"useful" applications.

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The best a man can get

Wow that razor blade looks like it will give me that 20% closer shave I've been after

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