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August 4, 2016 | POSTED BY Jodie Paradis
Imagine a world where you walk down a busy shopping street and instead of just looking through standard window panes of glass at clothing and merchandise, there are images, text, logos, even videos transposed into the windows themselves.
Or, picture yourself lost in the middle of a city, and all you need to do is search for an otherwise unobtrusive pane of glass, tap it, and an interactive audiovisual map will appear and guide you on your way.
These scenarios aren’t just the stuff of science fiction or overactive imaginations: this type of glass has not only already been invented, but it is actually on the market right now.
Planar forged this product in the industry first with its LookThru transparent OLED displays and other manufacturers like Samsung are quickly jumping on board and announcing similar products soon to come.
Planar’s displays are virtually frameless, transparent panes of glass that are actually touch screens. The screens can come to life, displaying text, logos, images, maps, and even video. It is durable and able to withstand high-traffic environments, making it suitable for public spaces. Unsurprisingly, the product has already won many industry awards.
Although the displays have yet to gain significant traction, this technology promises to one day transform sidewalks, streets, malls and other spaces, as the possibilities and uses it offers are virtually endless.
One of the best ways we can imagine it being used is for retail displays: instead of a standard shop window, a transparent display could be used to display mottos, logos, and prices or to advertise sales. The touch screen could invite pedestrians to learn more about the product. Needless to say, these windows would certainly be eye-catching and especially useful in competitive retail markets.
The glass would also be stunning in museums and other exhibits: in fact, a concept drawing by Planar shows the glass being used as a display case for violins. Museums could have the descriptions and information about the item on exhibit directly on the glass and allow visitors to interact with the display itself to learn more information, eliminating static descriptions and increasing the excitement level of visitors.
In a corporate environment, we imagine it could be used as a stunning and impressionable display in an entrance or common area that would allow visitors to interact and learn about the office or headquarters: searching through directories, referencing maps, and displaying promotional material about the company.
Planar’s LookThru display also accommodates high definition video, meaning that displays certainly don’t need to be limited to text or static images.
Behind the scenes, the glass works by being connected to a small box containing the electronic components, which can be embedded or hidden in an adjoining frame, in the ceiling, or in a structure that props up the glass itself. A computer or cable box is connected to the display to feed the information to it. One display does not need to stand alone; it can be arranged into a structure like a cube, providing a more 360-degree experience.
This innovation represents a unique challenge for graphic designers and other content creators who will need to take special things into consideration when preparing files to be “fed” into the glass: for one thing, black text or images will end up being transparent when appearing on the glass itself, so images and content will need to be processed appropriately for optimal results when displayed.
Intrigued? CBCI offers Planar’s LookThru display, so you can reach out to us for more information. We are excited about the possibilities that this kind of technology offers – and are holding our breath for the day when we can walk down the street and see these displays in action!
**Written in collaboration with Richard Fox