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LG unveils new transparent OLED screen 'suitable for brightly lit environments'

LG Display and Gauzy collaborate to create a new transparent OLED
(Image credit: LG Display (via HDTVTest) )

Concept and even mass-produced transparent OLED TVs are nothing new (and Samsung actually released its first transparent LCD in late 2011) but although the idea of transparent OLEDs has, er, clear potential, the main criticism has always been that see-through OLED displays suffer visibility issues in bright environments. Now, LG Display has collaborated with smart glass technology specialist Gauzy to try and fix that. 

Enter then LG's latest proposition, which was unveiled at this week’s International Motor Show in Munich, Germany. What's new? Well, this particular transparent OLED screen is laminated with Gauzy’s Suspended Particle Device tech, which LG promises makes it suitable for shifting light conditions and, crucially, for brighter environments such as trains. And furthermore, the company hopes to install them on carriages in Europe.

When SPD is switched on, the screen boasts crisp visual content while also allowing the viewer to see what is behind the display. LG also says it sees the tech as a possible replacement for greenhouse glazing in situations where both information and a view of the outside is desired – so beyond simply occupying a spot in your living room, then.

The SPD technology apparently works by dimming the transparent OLED panel to any desired opacity based on the amount of sunlight it detects. In theory then, it could offer shade for commuters on a train while still displaying relevant information about train timetables (or advertisements) all without losing a view of the cityscape.

According to a report published by HDTVTest, SPD is able to block 99 per cent of the light that hits the display, thus ensuring high contrast, day or night. 

LG sees a future dominated by transparent OLEDs (for example, the firm has already installed transparent OLED displays in subway train windows in Beijing and Shenzhen, China) and Gauzy agrees.

“The ability to make any window active, multifunctional, and to provide both visual and thermal comfort alongside communication is one of Gauzy’s core goals,” said Gauzy's chief executive, Eyal Peso.

“LG Display is pleased to showcase Transparent OLED displays designed for trains in the European market for the first time ever,” said Cho Min-Woo, head of transparent OLEDs at LG Display.

So, how long until we get transparent LG OLEDs on London Underground Northern Line trains? Watch this space (and as always, mind the gap).

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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.