Display technology has advanced dramatically in recent years, bringing innovative new ways of interacting with visual information. With so many emerging technologies on the horizon, it can be hard to keep track of the most exciting developments shaping the future of displays. In 2023, we expect to see displays become brighter, sharper, more energy-efficient, and more versatile than ever before.
Some truly remarkable display innovations are just around the corner, including holographic and volumetric 3D displays that leap off the screen, flexible and foldable displays that can bend and twist, transparent displays that overlay information onto the real world, and microLED technology delivering the next generation in resolution, color, and contrast. And new frontiers like augmented reality and brain-computer interfaces will take visual immersion to unprecedented levels.
As these breakthroughs continue, displays are poised to transform entertainment, business, education, and far beyond. The future is bright for display technology, with innovation accelerating faster than the human eye can perceive. The next generation of displays will change how we interact with the digital world.
Holographic Displays Create 3D Without Glasses
- Holographic displays use light diffraction and interference to create 3D images that appear to float in space without needing special glasses. This display technology is advancing rapidly and will soon allow for realistic 3D holograms.
- Key benefits include:
- Immersive 3D visuals with depth, parallax, and perspective
- Holograms can be viewed from any angle
- No eyeglasses or headsets are required
- Major developments include:
- Large holographic displays are able to project 3D objects up to a meter in size
- Holographic smartphones provide glasses-free 3D selfies and video calls
- Head-mounted holographic displays for AR/VR immersion
- Holographic displays allow for innovative applications across many industries:
- Medical training and education with interactive 3D anatomical models
- Digital signage and advertising with attention-grabbing 3D product visualizations
- Gaming and entertainment with futuristic 3D interfaces and interactions
- As holographic technology matures, displays will become larger and brighter, with increased depth and realism. This “glasses-free 3D” revolution promises to transform how we visually interact with computers and information.
Flexible Displays Bend the Rules
- Flexible displays use advanced materials like flexible OLEDs and quantum dots to create screens that can bend, fold and twist. This transforms display design and enables new device form factors.
- Key characteristics of flexible displays:
- Can be curved, rolled, folded, or stretched
- Enable flexible, foldable, and rollable electronics
- More durable and shatter-resistant than rigid glass displays
- Major progress is being made with flexible display technology:
- Foldable smartphone prototypes with screens folding in half
- Rollable TVs that retract into bases when not in use
- Curved and flexible tablets, watches, and other gadgets
- Benefits of flexible displays:
- Enables new thin, light, and portable device designs
- More durable and shatter-proof
- Can conform to irregular shapes and surfaces
- Applications taking advantage of flexible displays:
- Flexible smartphones that fold down into smaller sizes
- Curved TVs and monitors that surround viewers
- Conformable displays embedded into clothing
- Flexible display technology will continue advancing, bringing dynamically reconfigurable electronics and interfaces.
MicroLEDs Bring Next-Level Picture Quality
- MicroLED displays deliver major improvements in image quality thanks to tiny self-emitting LEDs. This display technology is poised to eclipse both LCD and OLED.
- How MicroLED displays work:
- Micrometer-scale LEDs emit their own colored light for each pixel
- The result is the emissive display with optimal brightness, contrast, and viewing angles
- Benefits of MicroLED include:
- Exceptional brightness, contrast, and viewing angles
- Long lifespan and durability, resistant to burn-in
- Lower power consumption than other display technologies
- MicroLED enables realistic visual immersion for AR/VR along with best-in-class picture quality for TVs and monitors.
- Current MicroLED applications:
- Small screens like smartwatches and near-eye displays
- Large wall-sized displays for events, signage, and commercial spaces
- Emerging usage scenarios include:
- Next-gen TVs with extremely high dynamic range and resolution
- Transparent displays using MicroLED for augmented reality
- Flexible screens incorporating stretchable MicroLEDs
- With further engineering advances, MicroLEDs promise to be the gold standard display technology in the coming decades.
Transparent Displays Merge Real and Virtual
– Transparent displays allow digital content to be overlaid onto real-world views, merging physical and virtual environments. This technology has huge potential for augmented reality.
– How transparent displays work:
– Use materials like graphene as transparent conductors
– Overlay images onto clear glass or plastic substrates
– Benefits of transparency:
– Overlays digital info onto real environments
– Enables augmented reality applications
– Provides seamless transition between AR and the physical world
– Current and emerging implementations:
– Transparent OLED displays on glass substrates
– Prototype transparent LCDs using advanced polymers
– Transparent LED panels billboards and glass walls
– Transparent nano cellulose substrates still in development
– Future AR transparent display applications:
– Eyeglasses with AR overlays for navigation, alerts
– Automotive windshields displaying road info
– Retail displays overlaying product info onto items
– Next-gen smartphones with transparent edge screens
– As materials science progresses, transparent displays will unlock innovative new ways to merge digital content with physical environments.
AR Headsets Immerse Users in Alternate Realities
– AR headsets use transparent displays to overlay digital imagery and information onto the real world, immersing users in enhanced realities.
– AR headsets have transparent visors that allow wearers to still see their surroundings, unlike VR headsets which fully block external views.
– How AR headsets work:
– Integrate transparent displays into headset visors
– Track user movements to anchor AR imagery onto real environments
– Use cameras and sensors to map physical spaces
– Benefits of AR headsets:
– Immerse users in alternate realities blending real and virtual
– Enable interactive 3D visuals mapped to physical spaces
– Support shared multi-user AR experiences
– AR headsets are currently quite bulky but technology is rapidly miniaturizing:
– Prototype contact lens AR displays being developed
– Stylish glasses-like designs will make headsets more wearable
– Exciting applications of AR headsets include:
– Immersive gaming with 3D elements overlaying real rooms
– Architectural visualization of building designs in situ
– Telepresence for virtual meetings blending remote participants with real environments
– Workplace efficiency aids like repair instructions visualized on complex equipment
– As AR headsets shrink down and become fashionable, they promise to make augmented realities an integral part of our lives.
Brain Interfaces Link Minds Directly to Displays
– Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) establish direct communication pathways between brains and devices like displays. This technology allows thoughts and brain signals to control digital content.
– Different types of brain interfaces include:
– Invasive BCIs with electrodes implanted into the brain
– Non-invasive BCIs that use EEG sensors worn on the scalp
– How BCIs link minds to displays:
– Detect and decode neural activity using machine learning
– Translate brain signals into interface commands without physical movement
– Enable direct neural control of displays and AR/VR content
– Applications of BCI display technology:
– Hands-free control of computers and mobile devices
– Next-gen VR/AR environments responding directly to thoughts
– Visual prosthetics restore sight by linking cameras directly to the visual cortex
– BCI art installations where observers can manipulate imagery with their minds
– BCI technology for displays is still emerging but rapid advances are being made:
– Increased signal decoding accuracy and speed
– Development of comfortable non-invasive sensors
– Algorithms personalized to individual brains
– As BCI technology improves, displays may increasingly respond to our thoughts alone, unlocking unprecedented ways of visualizing information.
Best of 21: The Display Technologies Leading the Digital Transformation
– Display technology innovations are accelerating, transforming how we experience and interact with the digital world. Here are 21 of the most transformative display advances today:
– Flexible displays:
– Foldable, rollable, bendable screens
– Enable new thin-light device designs
– More durable and portable
– Self-emissive pixels, exceptional image quality
– High brightness, contrast, and efficiency
– Long lifespan, no burn-in risk
– Perfect blacks, infinite contrast ratios
– Fast response times, wide viewing angles
– Curved, transparent, and flexible options
– Glasses-free 3D holograms
– Holographic smartphones and AR displays
– High resolution:
– Apple Retina displays, 4K, 8K TVs
– More realism, immersion, and detail
– Quantum dots:
– Wider color gamuts, enhanced brightness
– Superior color reproduction
– Merging of physical and digital environments
– Overlays information onto real-world views
– AR headsets:
– Immersive alternate realities
– Interactive 3D visuals anchored to real spaces
– High dynamic range imagery
– Dramatically improved contrast and color
– Curved displays:
– Immersive field of view, reduced eye movement
– Multi-monitor curved display setups
– Volumetric 3D:
– True 3D imagery projected in mid-air
– Holographic-like displays without glasses
– Maximize viewable display area
– More immersive viewing experience
– Intuitive gesture-based interfaces
– Enables interactive displays
– Retinal projection:
– Project imagery directly onto the retina
– Private heads-up displays
– BCIs turn thoughts into display control
– Hands-free operation
– Lifelike 3D visuals with natural depth cues
– Hologram-like images floating in space
– Auto-stereoscopic 3D:
– Glasses-free 3D
– Directional display beams
– Wall-sized video displays:
– Entire walls become interactive displays
– Giant shared viewing experiences
– Low-energy, paper-like reading
– Solar charging capabilities
OLEDs Offer Perfect Black Levels and Infinite Contrast
– OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays can achieve perfect black levels and infinite contrast ratios, providing major picture quality benefits over LCD and other display technologies.
– How OLED displays work:
– Organic compounds emit light when electrically stimulated
– No backlight required – each pixel emits its own colored light
– Key advantages of OLED displays:
– Perfect black since deactivated OLED pixels output no light
– Exceptional contrast with ultra-dark blacks next to bright whites
– Wide viewing angles and consistent image quality from any angle
– Faster response times and refresh rates, better for gaming
– OLED display use cases:
– High-end smartphones with stunning image quality
– OLED TVs delivering next-level contrast and black levels
– Curved, flexible, and transparent OLED variants
– Recent and anticipated OLED innovations:
– Plastic-based flexible and foldable OLED displays
– Transparent OLEDs enabling augmented reality overlays
– Large 8K resolution OLED TV panels
– Lower-cost manufacturing techniques like inkjet printing
– With their ability to achieve perfect, pixel-level black levels, OLED displays will continue gaining ground across consumer electronics and beyond. Their exceptional contrast unlocks true-to-life visuals.
8K TVs Provide Unmatched Resolution
– 8K ultra-high definition televisions quadruple the pixel count compared to 4K, resulting in unprecedented levels of visual detail and immersion.
– Key features of 8K TV technology:
– Over 33 million pixels (7680 x 4320 resolution)
– 16 times more pixels than 1080p HD
– Visual detail surpassing human visual acuity limits
– Benefits of 8K TVs:
– Allows viewers to sit much closer without seeing pixels
– More realistic depth, texture, and parallax
– Crystal-clear text visibility
– Ideal for giant screen sizes like 100″ and up
– Requirements for 8K content:
– New HDMI cables to support 48Gbps bandwidth
– HEVC and other advanced codecs
– Native 8K cameras and production equipment
– Increased streaming bandwidth
– 8K usage scenarios:
– Ultra-large premium home theater displays
– Digital cinema projection
– Industrial visualization and simulation
– Special venues like theme parks
– The path forward for 8K TV adoption:
– Gradual price erosion as manufacturing scales
– Increasing native 8K content production
– Next-gen gaming consoles enabling 8K
– Improved upscaling and playback of 4K/HD video
– While still early, 8K TVs promise a window into unprecedented levels of realism as they gradually go mainstream over the next decade. Their unrivaled resolution showcases the full potential of display technology.
Quantum Dot Technology Enhances Color and Brightness
– Quantum dots are nanoscale semiconductor particles that glow very brightly and precisely when stimulated, revolutionizing display color quality and brightness.
– How quantum dots transform displays:
– Quantum dots emit extremely pure colored light
– Narrow emission spectrum allows for a wider color gamut
– Quantum dot films placed in front of LCD backlights
– Benefits provided by quantum dot displays:
– Wider color gamut, more realistic color reproduction
– Significantly improved brightness
– Enhanced contrast ratios
– Excellent energy efficiency
– Quantum dot usage in current displays:
– Quantum dot enhancement film layers in high-end LCD TVs and monitors
– Quantum dot backlights in tablets and laptops
– Prototype quantum dot OLED displays
– The future looks bright for quantum dot display technologies:
– Self-emissive QLED displays poised to follow OLED
– Quantum dot solutions for AR visors, VR headsets
– Large wall-sized quantum dot video displays
– Quantum dot films requiring no rare earth materials
– With their superior color and brightness, quantum dot displays will help drive the next generation of immersive visual experiences spanning TVs, smartphones, AR/VR, and beyond.
Foldable Displays Revolutionize Device Design
– Foldable displays enable devices to transform between different screen sizes and form factors via folds, rolls, and bends. This display innovation promises to revolutionize electronics for display technology.
– Current implementations of flexible foldable displays:
– Foldable phone prototypes folding out into tablet sizes
– Laptops with flexible displays that can fold into different modes
– Rollable TVs that expand and retract via a base roller
– The technology enabling foldable displays:
– Flexible OLED or microLED display panels
– Advanced flexible plastic substrates
– Flexible printed circuits connecting display drivers
– Benefits that foldable displays provide:
– Enable devices to transform between screen sizes
– More portable when folded into smaller form factors
– More durable and shatter-resistant
– Foldables allow for innovative conceptual device designs:
– Phones that unfold into tablets
– Notebooks with flexible wraparound displays
– Curved displays that unfurl from wristbands into smartwatch sizes
– As materials science progresses, foldable displays will become thinner, lighter, and more power efficient. They promise to completely reinvent electronics form factors. Screens of the future will be dynamic, reconfigurable and shaped to user needs on-the-fly for display technology.
As we have explored, display technology has advanced tremendously in recent years, bringing innovation in the form of holographic, transparent, flexible, and high-resolution displays. These new display capabilities are opening doors to more immersive digital experiences and revolutionary device designs.
From VR headsets with stunning visual clarity to shape-shifting foldable smartphones to AR glasses that overlay digital content onto the real view, the future looks bright for display tech. The next generation of displays will transform how we interact with computers and information for display technology.
As Moore’s law continues driving exponential improvements, displays are on track to deliver visual experiences indistinguishable from reality within our lifetimes.
Q: What is the best display technology?
A: Currently OLED and MicroLED displays are considered the top display technologies due to their ability to achieve perfect black levels, high contrast, wide viewing angles, and other image quality benefits. However, many innovative display technologies like holographic displays are emerging.
Q: What is the most recent display technology?
A: Some of the most recent display innovations include foldable flexible displays, transparent displays for augmented reality, volumetric 3D displays, and microLED with over 20,000 nits of brightness. Display technology is advancing rapidly.
Q: What will be the next big thing in display technology?
A: Upcoming display innovations to watch include e-paper thin flexible displays, holographic 3D displays without glasses, transparent displays for augmented reality, and brain-computer interface displays controlled by thought alone.
Q: Is OLED better than 4K?
A: OLED is not a resolution like 4K, but rather a display panel technology. OLED displays can achieve 4K resolution and beyond. OLED is considered superior to LCD in 4K TVs due to OLED’s exceptional contrast and pixel-level dimming.
Q: How important is display technology?
A: Displays are the gateway to the digital world, shaping how we consume information and media. Advances in display technology drive progress in areas like augmented reality, digital health, education, entertainment, and beyond. Display innovation will remain integral to human progress for display technology.
Q: What is MicroLED display technology?
A: MicroLED uses millions of tiny individual LEDs as pixels, delivering exceptional image quality, contrast, lifespan, and efficiency compared to LCD and OLED displays. MicroLED promises to be the next gold standard in display performance for display technology.
Q: Are transparent displays the future?
A: Transparent displays that can overlay digital imagery onto real-world views show huge promise for augmented reality. Major tech companies like Samsung and startups are developing transparent display technologies, with transparent electronics poised to open new doors for AR, interactive windows, and surfaces for display technology.
“Display technology shapes how we experience the digital revolution.”