Transparent and reflective displays might look cool, but in terms of the home, their applications are limited. However, bricks and mortar shops looking for some technological wizardry to get shoppers through the door are a different proposition. So it should come as no surprise that Samsung chose this week's Retail Asia Expo 2015 in Hong Kong to unveil the first commercial use of its Mirror and Transparent OLEDs.
Transparent and reflective displays aren't new, with Samsung rolling out the first mass produced transparent LCD panels in 2011 and Philips' HomeLab R&D outfit unveiling its LCD Mirror TV in 2004, the latest evolution of which Philips still sells under its Reflex Mirror TV line, primarily targeted at hotels. But just like conventional TVs, reflective and transparent OLEDs promise superior performance to their LCD forebears.
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Samsung Display claims its Mirror OLED panel boasts a reflectance level of greater than 75 percent and outdoes the reflectance of competitor Mirror LCDs by at least 50 percent. It also offers color gamut of over 100 percent of NTSC compared to around 70 percent of NTSC for Mirror LCDs, and a contrast ratio of over 100,000:1 compared to 4,000:1. Response rate is also faster at under 1 ms compared to 8 ms. Additionally, OLED doesn't require any ambient backlight as is the case with LCDs.
Similar benefits can be found with the Transparent Display OLED, with a color gamut of 100 percent compared to 70 percent of NTSC for transparent LCDs and transmittance levels of 45 percent compared to around 10 percent. It also offers transparency levels of 40 percent, compared to the around 15 percent of Samsung's transparent LCDs. The OLED panels also boast wider viewing angles.
So they both boast better specs, but what can retailers do with them? Well, Samsung has paired the Mirror OLED display with Intel's RealSense technology. This sees the inclusion of a front-facing camera for capturing facial movements and tracking finger and hand movements, a rear-facing camera that can scan and measure rooms and objects, and a snapshot camera that allows a photo's background to be altered after the photo has been taken.
These come together to enable the display to create a "virtual fitting room" that allows customers to virtually try on clothing, shoes and jewelry and see how they will look on them – at the expo, Samsung was showing a "virtual necklace" display created for the Chow Sang Sang jewelry company. Samsung also envisages its Mirror Display replacing some traditional mirrors around the home at some point in the future.
The Transparent Display will also integrate RealSense technology, enabling gesture and voice control of 3D-rotatable viewing systems in locations such as car dealerships. They could also serve as interactive signage for public and transport information and in hotels and retailers.
Source: Samsung DisplayView gallery - 2 images