Scientists create world's thinnest display out of soap bubbles

Being the futurists that we are, we flip out every time we see a transparent display, so it's no surprise that we'd freak out over one that's essentially made out of really thick soap bubbles. Even more exciting is that ultrasonic vibrations shot through the display can alter an images "texture."

surfactant, Japanese scientists from the University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba and Carnegie Mellon University have figured out how to turn a transparent membrane into a transparent display that could pave the way toward screens that aren't strictly rectangular and have flexible designs.

According to the researchers, images reflected on the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) screen can be controlled with ultrasonic sound waves.

What benefits does using ultrasonic waves bring to display technology? Different vibrations can be used to create different textures.

If you take Carnegie Mellon University's Dr. Alexis Oyama's word, it could transform the way we "see" an image:

"For example, a butterfly's wings should be reflective and a billiard ball should be smooth, and our transparent screen can change the reflection in real time to show different textures."

Basically, images displayed on the colloidal display will look more realistic. You'll almost be able to feel the texture of the image as if you were looking at the real thing.

That's not all, though. If several layers of the bubble screens are stacked together, a 3D/holographic projection can be achieved.

What about the bubble screens popping? Not to worry, the solution is so thick that objects can even be passed through it and it won't pop.

The video below released by the University of Tokyo's Dr. Yoichi Ochiai does a great job of explaining how the display works and even shows a few examples of how an image enhanced with different textures look like.

What we're looking at is only a simple proof-of-concept, so don't start saving your pennies in jar just yet. The possibilities for such a technology could be truly more transformative than, say, the TV industry's attempt to revive 3D.

96ochiai, via BBC

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