Sharp Free-Form display opens the door for weird and wonderful designs

June 18, 2014

If the latest flagship smartphones are anything to go by, we can’t escape talking about displays and mobile devices. So here’s a little glimpse at a technology that might work its way into future smartphones. Sharp has been showing off its latest display innovation called “Free-Form”, which allows for displays that break free from the rectangular status-quo.

Sharps’ Free-Form display type uses its existing IGZO technology, and is based on the same idea that is enabling displays with ultra-thin bezels. With conventional panels, the display circuitry is housed around the outside, limiting the shape of the screen and the width of the necessary bezels. Sharp has overcome this problem by moving this “gate driver” function in between the pixels, allowing for ultra slim bezels and displays of all shapes and sizes.

No need for circuity bezel

The MS-TSP design above shows how Sharp might be developing its displays. By removing the circuit from outside of the panel to in between the pixels, manufacturers can slim down bezels substantially and build displays in a wider array of shapes.

We’ve already seen several display manufacturers begin pursuing slightly different display designs, more for aesthetic reasons than anything else. LG and Samsung both have their own curved smartphones, and the upcoming Moto 360 smartwatch will make use of a spherical rather than rectangular display. Perhaps Sharp is really onto something with this technology.

Although the focus of Sharp’s announcement has been around automotive implementations, the company noted that its Free-Form Display is pretty well suited for a range of applications, including the likes of wearable devices or oddly shaped smartphones. Sharp is only in the prototyping stage at the moment, but the company plans to begin mass production of these displays “at the earliest possible date”. Although, it will probably be a little while before any smartphone manufacturers decide to pick up the technology.

What do you think about breaking away from traditional device shapes? Is this something that you could see catching on in the smartphone or wearables markets?

Comments

  • MasterMuffin

    A screen that’s shaped like an hourglass (but not with so extreme curves) could help with the handling of bigger devices (though that could look ugly)

    “Sharp is only the in prototyping stage” :)

    • Rob Triggs

      :S thanks.
      That would be an interesting design, or perhaps a smartphone with a slight indents for your thumb/fingers? Elliptical smartwatches are probably a little more of a practical idea though.

      • MasterMuffin

        As a left handed person, I have a feeling there’d be more devices for right handed people :/

        • Rob Triggs

          Haha, I didn’t think of that! I don’t think I’d last long in Sharp’s R&D department :P

          • MasterMuffin

            :D But seriously everything is designed by right handed people! Even stuff like playing games on a laptop is hard, because WASD is on the left side of the keyboard and my left hand uses the mouse… And don’t get me started on scissors!

          • Corbin Crutch

            Mastermuffin, do you want me to buy you some left handed scissors?

          • MasterMuffin

            No thank you :D

          • Corbin Crutch

            If you say so

        • Corbin Crutch

          And the truth is revealed! He is left handed!

          • MasterMuffin

            What if I’m actually just a big liar? What if I’m actually… You? Dun dun dunnnnnn

          • Corbin Crutch

            No. No. That’s not true. That’s impossible!

            http://i.imgur.com/iZgpKR8.jpg

          • MasterMuffin

            I was thinking about saying that I’m your father :D

          • Corbin Crutch

            You gotta admit, mark hammel made some weird faces in this scene. xD I love him

          • MasterMuffin

            Maybe he didn’t read the script and thought Vader was serious ;D

          • Corbin Crutch

            Nah, I think his funny facial stuff was just him being fantastic at acting and making it belivable. I mean, look at normal people’s emotions. Not what it looks like in film

        • John

          I’m left-handed too ! We’re either smarter or dumber than others on the bell-curve. I’d say both of us are smarter. ;)

          • MasterMuffin

            It’s a scientific fact that lefties are smarter!

          • kaushik ray

            lol..thanks for the laughter..

    • Jermaine Smit

      That is pretty mutch what I made with a concept.

      http://www.concept-phones.com/cool-concepts/hold-js1-smartphone-rival-galaxy-note-4/ Also in tablet

  • Jaime

    Diamond shaped smartphone for me please.

  • namesib

    Ooh very cyberpunk-esque.