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Displays

Multi-layer LCD Displays 100

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the screw-alpha-channel-transparency dept.
Jmo writes "Puredepth has started to produce multi-layer LCD displays. They manipulate LCD technology so that one screen can be placed behind another for actual depth. This technology has not even come close to being fully taken advantage of but it is still very interesting and has many implications for the future. Their main product right now is a seventeen inch monitor, the MLD-3000. It is mainly targeted at medical and business fields but it could be used all over."
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Multi-layer LCD Displays

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  • The price (Score:2, Insightful)

    by puiahappy (855662)
    I think is a very god piece of hardware but at that price ($1,799.00), i think that a few years will have to pass until we`ll start using it at home.
    • Re:The price (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SimonShine (795915)
      It appears like really a really cool thing to have, but does any near future price compare to the $30 a KVM [webopedia.com] costs, just so that you can see two windows at the same time? You can even build KVMs yourself.
    • But once you see boobies so real, they'll knock your socks off?
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17, 2005 @10:34AM (#12261612)
    I've been wanting to purchase an LCD, but I've been waiting for one to be as big and bulky as a CRT.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Informative)

      by sagekoala06 (786349)
      Their website states that it is only 3.1" deep excluding the base.
      • Which makes this interesting - would it be too far a step to propose that this design be used to allow LCDs to natively support a number of different resolutions? Might make them more acceptable if the last remaining serious flaw with LCDs was, if not fixed, made better.
        • Which makes this interesting - would it be too far a step to propose that this design be used to allow LCDs to natively support a number of different resolutions?

          Absolutely. That would be just as smart as bolting a compact-car onto the roof of your SUV so you can enjoy the benefits of high fuel mileage and tremendous storage space.

          Well, no, that was unfair. It would be like gluing a 22 and 45 caliber rifle together, so you always have the right firepower for large and small game.
        • last remaining serious flaw with LCDs so the contrast ratio changes based upon angle and the lack of a possibility to calibrate the colors due to this is not seen as a flaw?
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by deutschemonte (764566) <lane@montgomery.gmail@com> on Sunday April 17, 2005 @10:35AM (#12261619) Homepage
    "It could be used all over."

    Like pr0n right?

    Come on, some one was going to say it.
    • If you overlay two pr0n images on just one woman each would the resultant display on this qualify as girl-on-girl??
  • 3D (Score:4, Insightful)

    by obender (546976) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @10:40AM (#12261659)
    Two layers is not deep enough for 3D, you would need hundres of layers. But I doubt the technology described in TFA even attempts this.

    Well, I'm sure this will be discussed in much more detail on Monday when the dupe will be posted.

    • Re:3D (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mattdm (1931)
      Two layers is not deep enough for 3D, you would need hundres of layers. But I doubt the technology described in TFA even attempts this.

      You're mistaken. With two eyes, two layers is all you need.
      • Re:3D (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)
        Your right, but these 2 layers are directly on top of each other.

        They are just onion skin layers, and need to be a volumetric cube to be a true 3d display (Yes, your 1 display per eye is right, but for a group of people looking its impractical)

        I am hoping for a rotating drum with spokes made of LEDs to give a true volume area that would be viewable by all, but thats about as likely as a flying car, so I wont hold my breath.
        • Re:3D (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheLink (130905)
          If you don't mind using polarized glasses- one eye vertical, one eye horizontal, then you only need two.

          Have a screen at the bottom of the display, and one at the back of the display and a half-way mirror/beam splitter reflecting the bottom screen to your eyes.

          e.g.

          | / -->eyes
          |/__
          • Re:3D (Score:4, Interesting)

            by mattdm (1931) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @11:44AM (#12262071) Homepage
            If you don't mind using polarized glasses- one eye vertical, one eye horizontal, then you only need two.

            You don't need glasses. I'm not sure about the actual LCD used in this thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's using the same technology Sharp uses in their laptop. I've seen the Sharp techology demoed and as someone who basically doesn't know anything about all of this, I was totally astounded.

            Luckily, Sharp conveniently explains how it works [sharp-world.com] -- they use something called a "parallax barrier", which, as the name implies, basically makes it so you see one screen from one eye and the other from the other. Obviously this works best if you're immediately in front of the screen, but from the demo I saw, it worked from a wider angle than I would have thought.

            Or you can read all of the past slashdot stories about it [slashdot.org]....
            • No, this is quite different to Sharp's approach.
              Sharp's tech has one screen split into two halfs. One half is aimed at your left eye, the other is aimed at your right. This allows you a full range of depth by altering the horizontal displacement between corresponding pixels on the left eye/right eye images.
              Basically this tech is quite similar to how anaglyphs or magic eye images work.

              The tech in TFA on the other hand has two screen where one is literally, physically behind the other. The depth is actually
        • by mattdm (1931)
          Your right, but these 2 layers are directly on top of each other.

          I don't think that's actually the case. Note the complaint about the "stereoscopic" blur. I think that the monitor *has* a mode where it does basically what you're saying so that it can be used in a less useful way with non-adapted applications -- input from a secondary video input ispresented on a plane apparently behind the primary one.

          This particular review is quite short and light on details, and it's *possible* that this is all this pa
    • "Two layers is not deep enough for 3D, you would need hundres of layers. But I doubt the technology described in TFA even attempts this."

      I saw a demo of this back at Siggraph 2001. 3D? Nah. But having the foreground layer and the BG layer seperated was still a much nicer effect than the cross-eyed approach to 3D that has been done before.

      Also, from a compuer using point of view, it was a little better, too. You could It showed the foreground window on the front plane and everything else in the back.
  • by Flywheels of Fire (836557) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @10:40AM (#12261660) Homepage
    It's not really good for 3D stuff. So that only means you can use it for stacked virtual desktops. But as TFA says, stacking transparent desktops on each other is quite annoying. Let virtual desktops be virtual.

    However, I do see a use in this for GIS [mithuro.com] applications. You can redefine the term overlay with this.

  • I'm a bit curious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @10:42AM (#12261675)
    as too all this research and product development into 3D displays. It didnt work in the cinema and personally I cant think of a compelling mainstream requirement for 3D on the desktop.
    • " It didnt work in the cinema..."

      Well, yeah, nobody quite got the implementation right. However, I can tell you that Disneyland still has the Muppet 3D adventure, Universal Studios still was Terminator and Shrek 3D, and Las Vegas has the Borg Experience '4D'. All big attractions. (well, the Muppet 3D one USED to be a big attraction, heh.)

      " It didnt work in the cinema and personally I cant think of a compelling mainstream requirement for 3D on the desktop."

      Err. If you're saying we can live with out
    • as too all this research and product development into 3D displays. It didnt work in the cinema and personally I cant think of a compelling mainstream requirement for 3D on the desktop.

      "There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

      Before this gets modded Troll, the point is that the same thing was said about the automobile, the airplane, and the Popiel Pocket Fisherman. I'm not saying that this technology is on par with those, but frankly, who knows? If you
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you have something that can be separated into near field and far field, the images could be very realistic. I have trouble imagining how this would work with a medical image. Remember the anatomy drawings with a series of plastic overlays.

    The stuff I like the best is some mechanical drawings with cutaway views. A good illustrator can totally convey a 3-d structure. I guess what I am saying is that the answer may be a little more cleverness with conventional 2-d displays. The use of user-controlled
  • pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cahiha (873942) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @10:51AM (#12261732)
    Wasting two full LCD displays on getting two blurry discrete depths is not a good use of hardware. If you expend the same amount of effort on a true 3D display, you can do the same thing, and you can actually look at arbitrary 3D objects/scenes.
  • Zounds! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by back_pages (600753) <.back_pages. .at. .cox.net.> on Sunday April 17, 2005 @10:52AM (#12261741) Journal
    From TFA

    The practical applications that Puredepth advertises for its MLD displays are vast and far-reaching. In any application that would benefit from greater information density (such as backgrounds with changing overlays, work areas with tool palettes, etc.), the MLD adds true depth to what would usually be a simulated effect. The effect is truly amazing, especially when compared with a standard 2D display.

    As you can see, this device is a GREAT benefit to the vast and far-reaching applications that would benefit from it. We could name them, but we'll settle for describing them abstractly. Suppose you have an application where you need to stack crap on top of other crap so that you can't read any of it. Well, this device is exactly what you need!

    Seriously, take a look at the screenshot of this thing running:

    Stacking crap so you can't read it [xyzcomputing.com]

    In that pic, you can read everything, but it is clear that if you use your computer for things like text, this would be a nearly unusable monitor.

    I love the article's conclusion:

    Also, the technology, once refined, could be applied to displays with many layers, allowing for even more complex three-dimensional diagrams, such as skyscraper floor-plans, or "data clouds" with more than merely two levels within the depth hierarchy.[Poster's note: HOLY CRAP A 3D DISPLAY? THAT WOULD CHANGE THE WORLD IF it wasn't 25 years old.] Yet another possibility would be to juxtapose two or more different display formats in the same manner. Using a combination of standard LCD displays with super-bright OLED displays might lead to some interesting effects, making the distinguishing factors between layers consist of more factors than merely depth.

    As innovators, I tip my hat to Puredepth, and I truly hope to see more products from them in the future.

    • Re:Zounds! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wyldeone (785673) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @11:04AM (#12261807) Homepage Journal

      In that pic, you can read everything, but it is clear that if you use your computer for things like text, this would be a nearly unusable monitor.

      While I won't comment on the practical applications of this monitor, your comment shows a lack of understanding about photography. Since the camera taking the picture can only take one in 2 dimensions, the true dimensiality of the monitor cannot be grasped through a photo.

      I would look at this monitor in person before making any cracks about its usability.

      • Re:Zounds! (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by back_pages (600753)
        While I won't comment on the practical applications of this monitor, your comment shows a lack of understanding about photography. Since the camera taking the picture can only take one in 2 dimensions, the true dimensiality of the monitor cannot be grasped through a photo.

        Wait, so a camera doesn't steal my soul? No seriously, I'd love to hear your explanation of how "the true dimensiality of the monitor" actually works. Here's what I suggest:
        Take two transparencies, such as for an overhead projector.
        F

        • Eat some paint chips and explain how this is an improvement over looking at the transparencies one at a time.

          You left out a critical point- the transparencies have to be of some spatially correlated data, such as an x-ray and radar imagining of the same object. In that case, the utility is obvious.

          I am absolutely not saying that this gizmo is worth paying twice was a pair of normal LCDs would cost, but it does produce some benefit. Part of the reason it will never produce more benefit is because GUI to
      • Okay then... I have used it, or one essentially identical to it; we informally evaluated it at work for a peer group searching for potential applications.

        It was kind of neat when used "properly", that is when you used the demo custom version of PowerPoint they provided which showed different related content on each layer. You pretty much had to be sitting right in front of it for it to look good, though. Both layers were a bit washed out / hard to focus on, and reading was not as easy as on a traditional d

    • In that pic, you can read everything, but it is clear that if you use your computer for things like text, this would be a nearly unusable monitor.

      Wrong. If you actually sit in front of the monitor, you can see the rear images fairly easily, particularly if you are a dual-eyed human. By subtlely adjusting the convergence angle of your binocular vision, you can instantly shift focus on either the front or rear screen.

      The images on the front screen are thin enough (text and gui elements) so that they can
    • He's intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking.
    • It sounds like they've built a cool piece of hardware, but why not just handle the overlays and blending functions in a graphics card which is perfectly good at it, instead of making it happen in a harder-to-manufacture overpriced monitor?

      I can see that there might be occasional military applications where it actually makes sense, because you really really really don't want the different data streams on the same computer (e.g. the CNN feed on the background and the crosshairs for the satellite laser aimin

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 17, 2005 @11:09AM (#12261832)
    by Philips [philips.com] uses more conventional technology. You just interleave the pixels of the alternate views.
  • by Hrrrg (565259) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @11:15AM (#12261877)
    Hmm, I think I will file this story under:

    "Sounds Cool"
    subfolder "Probably Useless"
    subfolder "What Moron Thought We Needed This?"

    Thanks!
    • If you don't mind, I'd like to change your folder structure a little:

      "Sounds Cool"
      subfolder "Probably Useless"
      subfolder "The guy who created this has made a few dollars for himself at the expense of some morons who buy anything new and shiny without really thinking about a real use for said shiny object"

      wbs.
      • subfolder "The guy who created this has made a few dollars for himself at the expense of some morons who buy anything new and shiny without really thinking about a real use for said shiny object"

        Hmm. Expect to see it on sale at ThinkGeek sometime soon, then.
  • eye focus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spectrokid (660550) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @11:17AM (#12261886) Homepage
    this could be interesting if the depth between the 2 displays was enough so you could "switch" between them by refocussing your eyes, like wathing through a fence.
    • I have used the display, and that is exactly what you can do. They can build them to any real depth.. the one I have used is set at about 25mm depth (about an inch for those of you still stuck in imperial units) but they can be manufactured up to 150mm or more. Some confusion reigns here about how these actually work too.. they do NOT use autostereoscopic principles (Sharp's and Philip's 3D displays do). You get just TWO DISCRETE depths. They are NOT really useful for content with a continuously variable
  • by icepick72 (834363) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @11:19AM (#12261899)
    The poster of the article says "It is mainly targeted at medical and business fields but it could be used all over"

    However the article says: "Several quirks related to the product's design make it somewhat impractical for generalized use."

    Slashdot has reached a new level of article posting. Now the poster doesn't have to RTFA anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is it news when another company jumps on the 3D using parallax bandwagon?

    Sharp [sharpsystems.com] has done it, Toshiba [japancorp.net] has done it. All three are using the same layered LCD technology. Slashdot has covered each one now

    BB

    • This is not an auto-sterioscopic monitor fool! It is a totally unique way of presenting information which solves all of the problems associated with sterioscopic displays (sweet spots, low resolution, seasickness. Text is a relatively weak affordance for MLD's. A major strengh is in an application like kiosk, gaming or mapping when graphics can be displayed in a whole new way. This is where MLD will win in the first instance. Just as a side note one layer can be switched off so you can declutter any tex
  • Okay, this is a longshot, but could something like the foveon sensor [foveon.com] be applied to LCDs? How long before we get real square pixels from RGB or RGBE [dpreview.com] stacked LCDs?
  • by marcsiry (38594) on Sunday April 17, 2005 @11:35AM (#12262010) Homepage
    Seems like most of the naysayers are just assuming you'd use this screen to simply overleave two 2D displays.

    This is linear thinking- sort of like assuming that the powerful GPUs in video cards would only ever be used to render chrome spheres floating over checkerboard floors. Instead, different, more clever uses (like Quartz and Core Image) have emerged for that seemingly extravagant and surplus capability.

    Similarly, I fell like somthing like this will be used to add an intangible quality to the dry 2d display- 'life' or 'vibrance.'

    Imagine two displays that render the exact same image, except in the areas where it's tracking your eyes or mouse, the images are more in phase while the rest of the screen goes out of phase.

    It could literally help focus your attention on the important info, where today's screens are limited to color, 'boldness' and opacity.

    I think we won't see the real usefluness of this until it's had time for creative people to tinker with working examples of it, which is the case for most technology, really.
    • Imagine two displays that render the exact same image, except in the areas where it's tracking your eyes or mouse, the images are more in phase while the rest of the screen goes out of phase.

      Ok, and now let's imagine paying for 1 display and an API function that does a blur effect on areas that are not near the mouse. Your method requires a $1800 display. My method requires an API function and existing graphics hardware.

      I think we won't see the real usefluness of this until it's had time for creative

    • My post is going to assume that people like the 3D potential of the display, as many other posters have already pointed out how software and current hardware can already do alpha blending for overlay.
      Here is another analogy:

      Two-layer LCD display would be able to give 3D in much the same way that the classic parallax shooters projected into 2D in the early nineties. Few 2D layers. Those by the way were pathetic with only two layers, and the more layers, the cooler it seemed.

      However, something that does w
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now I just need to go to the ATM Machine to get cash to buy one. I'd like one to use with my MIDI Interface, but I hope I have enough RAM Memory in my CPU Unit.
  • I don't see what you gain here using a hardware implementation of this. Surely it is possible to otherwise do this entirely in software (which would certainly be more elegant) or even by blending two DVI signals?

    Like this, you end up with one display being a little fuzzy, and it just looks confusing to me.

    The article really doesn't sell it either - "It's good cos you can have toolbars and pallettes" - done in software - "The box looks cool" - great, I'd expect it to look good if I paid that much.

    Someone
  • but the damned store only had one monitor plugged in
  • it's not considered "defective" unless there are 8 dead pixels on each layer.
  • I've seen layered LCDs before. They have them installed at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. On the lower level, they have a really cool interactive exhibit where you can browse their 3D database of famous spaceships from the history of sci-fi. It definitely uses some kind of multi-layered display (I assume LCD.) It looks extremely cool and sci-fi-ish, but like everyone else, I'm not sure what the real practical applications would be other than sci-fi...
  • To avoid unnecessary banners and wasting bandwidth, click on page 4 at the bottom of the page. Page 4 has the screenshots of the monitor in action.

    (Unless you want to see the other pics, and in that case knock yourself out)
  • Just buy an old-school LCD panel for overhead projectors [ebay.com] and duct tape it to the front of your CRT...

    I'm actually pretty disappointed that those LCD panels went the way of the dodo bird. They were pretty cool, and I dare say more convenient than integrated projectors (since with the old panels you could use dual-use the projector for.... overheads!)

    -- Marcio
  • Great, now I can be even more dissapointed when my new layered LCD has dead pixels in all 3 dimensions.
  • If they could have picked any colour for the see-through colour, it should have been something other than white. See the screenshot they provide which shows just how bad it is when a web browser with Google on it is in front of another window.

    Surely some colour like RGB(4,0,4) would be fairly uncommon, and a little more safe. Colours like that tend to be used for video overlays already, so they should work fine.

    • LCD pixels are black (opaque) when "on" and colored (clear showing filtered white backlight) when "off" so the transparent color on the front panel can't be anything other than white.

      The front LCD can't do the partial transparency effect you might be familiar with from Quartz because it can't add light to what is being transmitted through the back LCD, it can only darken the image further.

      This seems like an unbelievably lame device to me, in that the layering is going to look worse and be more limited tha
      • Actually, if they rotate one of the two polarization films by 90 degrees, on become transparent while off become opaque.

        I've been trying to design a new type of LCD for a little while now, so I've had to do a bit of research.

        Technically speaking, as I understand it, you can also do translucent by sending an analog voltage level to the pixel, but this probably won't work on a TFT type display as it actually uses a transistor for each pixel.
    • LCDs are designed to filter out the light coming through them. Black (RGB 0,0,0) would block all light, red (RGB 255,0,0) would block all but red, and of course white (RGB 255,255,255) lets everything through. You can't assign RGB (4,0,4) as transparent as the LCD surface would only let through ~1.6% of red and blue light, hardly transparent.

      I personally think this display is a cheap hack, not worth $1,799. You could buy two LCD displays, disassemble them and stack them if you're savvy enough. I've never
      • You could map white to RGB(255,255,254), and then map some other colour like RGB(4,0,4) to white.

        I'm not entirely certain why this would be so hard to do, either, although two of you seem to think it is.


  • About four or five years ago we did some development for a company from New Zealand called DeepVideo. They had a screen that was two LCD displays with one in front of the other.

    Basically it was connected to by a dual head video card, and you basically had is spanned. The first half was on the front screen, the second was on the back.

    LOL, I just looked up deepvideo and its the same guys. I guess its a re-release or something.

    My experience with the original displays were that they we neat, but not terri
  • Is that kind of like a liquid crystal display display? I bit like these ATM machines I've been hearing about?
  • I think that before getting 3d on monitors, we should solve the problem of those monitors not displaying the vivid range of colors that the eye can percieve. If you know a bit about digital compositing, you've probably heard about HDR, and I personally think this is the next logical step in monitors. There's at least one company, who was kind enough to show us a demo unit where I work, who's working on that. Basically, they have two panels : a regular 1600x1200 LCD panel, and a panel comprised of about a th

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