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New Film Renders Screen Reflection Almost Non-Existent 112

Posted by samzenpus
from the flat-screen dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sony has used the SID 2012 conference to demonstrate a brand new combination of conductive film and low-reflection film that promises to render screen reflection almost non-existent in devices like smartphones and tablets. Sony achieved such low reflections by combining its new conductive film with a moth-eye low reflection film. The key to the low reflectance is the formation of an uneven surface, which consists of both concave and convex structures (tiny bumps) that cover the entire film. The uneven surface means that light won't just bounce back off the screen creating a reflection, and therefore making the screen usable in a wider range of lighting conditions."
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New Film Renders Screen Reflection Almost Non-Existent

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  • Moth-eye (Score:5, Informative)

    by Phibz (254992) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:12AM (#40395599)

    I was wondering what they meant by moth-eye and I found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-reflective_coating#Moth_eye

    • Re:Moth-eye (Score:5, Informative)

      by PatPending (953482) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:32AM (#40395709)

      I'll see your Wikipedia reference and raise you two USPTO patents granted to SONY for this:

      8,027,090 [freepatentsonline.com] and 7,633,045 [freepatentsonline.com].

      Note: according to another of SONY's patents, moth-eye can also be used to record info on optical media:

      "Today, there are seven primary methods by which information can be recorded on optical media. All methods heat the recording layer to a certain temperature. The methods are known as ablative, alloying, bubble-forming, moth-eye, phase-change, dye/polymer and magneto-optic which cause or could cause some mechanical deformation of the substrate."

      P.S.

      Unlike TFA these patents include detailed drawings and SEM photographs.

      P.S.S.

      I remember when the authors of tech articles did this kind of background research. Sigh.

      • Looking at patents is, sadly, not something that should be recommended.

        • How so? Is it to avoid knowledge that leads to treble damages? If so, the concept of "willful blindness" is emerging from recent exclusive rights cases.
        • by kanweg (771128)

          To the contrary. The purpose of patents is to spread information, which is what we as a society get in return for a temporary monopoly as a reward for the inventor. For an all you can eat link on any (technical ) subject go here: http://worldwide.espacenet.com/ [espacenet.com]

          Please note that what you can find on this site is patent applications. They are (or will) not necessarily granted. If the patent is granted but not for your country, is expired or the owner stopped paying renewal fees and the patent lapsed, you can u

        • by sarysa (1089739)
          In terms of parents, it's actually quite refreshing to see something that deserves patenting for a change. I'm no fan of Sony and I feel patents need to expire sooner, but I do appreciate the hard research and development put into this one. Not the idiot software patents like "slightly different list scrolling behavior" that we typically see.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        P.S.S.? What is this world coming to? http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/pss.html [wsu.edu]
      • Re:Moth-eye (Score:4, Insightful)

        by justforgetme (1814588) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:28AM (#40397333) Homepage

        Research?! On teh Internetz?! You crazy, crazy man!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:13AM (#40395603)

    SONY has been on my "do not patronize" list for years and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

    • by EdIII (1114411) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:26AM (#40395675)

      SONY has been on my "do not patronize" list for years and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

      Cue the people telling us to just get over the root-kit or whatever else Sony has done.

      NEVER.

      Sony long ago declared war against the consumer, and much like an aged convict in prison, it does not matter how goody two-shoes they are today. They still murdered somebody. Parole Denied. Let them turn to dust.

      Only the complete destruction of Sony will assuage they deep and intense desire for justice against Sony and their evil deeds.

      I don't care if they release the fucking cure for cancer tomorrow. The execution is still going to proceed on schedule.

      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:43AM (#40395749)

        You will regret those comments when SONY becomes a branch of your government.

        • by dwater (72834)

          80s??? Am I *that* out of fashion?

        • You will regret those comments when SONY becomes a branch of your government.

          Don't you mean when our government becomes a branch of SONY? Let's remember who writes the checks here...

      • by omglolbah (731566)

        They have quite a few researchers which are far from the decisions to be asshats to consumers.

        I loathe the company's customer fuckups and asshattery in general, but love the researchers doing this kind of work even so.

        • by lhunath (1280798)

          The researchers know full-well what kind of company they're getting payed by. If they don't want to be affiliated with the crap the company does such as by the parent, they can go work elsewhere. They're still working for SONY, which means they didn't care to make that moral choice, which means they fully deserve the affiliation.

          Talk like yours is what convinces people that "it's OK" to do evil crap. "The customer will forgive you", eventually. "Find someone to blame and throw them out".

          That isn't going

          • by omglolbah (731566) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:34AM (#40396753)

            I do not buy sony products. I do not 'forgive' them for the asshattery.

            The researchers in the article are not doing "evil crap". They're doing research into reducing glare.
            It is an interesting piece of tech and has very little to do with rootkits or screwing the customer.

            When it comes to morality it is worth pointing out that almost no research is immune to being used for Evil(tm). No matter who you work for, or what research it is, someone will use it in a negative way.
            In addition almost all corporations have some form of Evil in its past or present... To varying degrees for sure, but refusing to acknowledge positive contributions because of previous negative ones is just plain stupid.
            Weighting the positive and negative and making an informed decision is the way to go, not going all out 'hurr durr rootkitz!!!' like so many seem to be stuck doing.

            • by EdIII (1114411)

              It is the magnitude of the past crimes.

              Sony's past crimes, combined with their well known war against the consumer, justifies the death sentence and avoidance at all costs.

              They would need to stop their war against the consumer today, eliminate DRM in their products, actively push for sane copyright reform and customer protections under the law, and engage in behavior beneficial to society for decades to make up for what they did.

              I can refuse to acknowledge positive contributions because when weighed against

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Note: DRM = root kit. I hope your list also includes Apple, some/many Android vendors, and now MS.

        Mine certainly does.

      • i agree with most of what you said

        but if they release the fucking cure for cancer, i'll excuse them

        think of all the hot chicks with cancer you could cure, just by having sex with them, and they would be eternally grateful

        thank you Sony!

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        That's quite a grudge you carry. What about in 50 years when none of the people involved in the root-kit fiasco even work there anymore. Sony isn't a single person. You could probably find plenty of anti-consumer actions taken by just about any company out there. If you want to boycott any company who ever did anything anti-consumer, you'd probably have to live self sustained on a desert island. Sony has done some truly stupid things over the years. But they've also brought us some pretty cool products.
        • by EdIII (1114411)

          It's the magnitude of their offenses and the strength of their current war against the consumer.

          It's not as if they are reformed, in the process of reforming, or even interested in the idea of reform.

          Sorry, but it will take a complete replacement of all upper management and years and years and years of good works, involvement with the local communities, helping grandmas across the street, and feeding starving orphans before I can start to reconsider my grudge.

      • Speaking of dust, will this mottled display be more of a dust magnet?
      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        Forgiveness requires first an apology, or even recognition of error.

      • by Gizzmonic (412910)

        TOKYO, JAPAN - After reading a sullen, masturbatory blog post by user 'EdIII' on popular tech blog Slashdot, Sony Corporation has decided to dissolve. "It's been a good run," said George Harrison, "but after EdIII's post accusing us of murder we really decided it was time to pack it in. We really are fat idiots and definitely worse than Hitler." Sony's numerous patents will be acquired by Apple Inc.

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          Be as sarcastic as you want.

          The moment you let Sony off the hook, and just give up, then they have won.

          More people refuse to allow Sony to continue with their shit, the less money they have, the faster they will die.

          Don't settle for getting fucked in the ass when you can fight till your last breath trying to kill the bastard doing it.

    • by samoanbiscuit (1273176) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:22AM (#40396383)
      Sony is a lot like Samsung in that they're really more like a network of affiliated companies that use the same brand. While I don't mean to disagree on why you don't patronise them, the possibility exists that other devices from other companies will use screens manufactured by them, as they seem to have a patent on this tech. Would you buy a device from Apple, Samsung or HTC using a Sony made screen?
      • I think there's a point in that. I removed the cover from an old Canon PowerShot and found a Sony screen, which was relatively surprising as there are many other screen makers, and Sony competes with Canon in several market segments.

        I don't think we can ever completely be extricated from any multinational corporation, but folks are free to see how far they can go with that.

        • If you disassemble any modern bit of electronics, it's very likely that is has some Sony derived component [lmgtfy.com] in it.

          They're everywhere! Ahhhhhh!!!!!

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      SONY has been on my "do not patronize" list for years and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

      Thta's quite hard actually, because Sony's like Google in that regard - they're big enough that they have tentacles everywhere that are practically impossible to avoid.

      E.g., Sony makes a lot of components - especially imaging ones. A Sony camera sensor can be in your digital camera (point and shoot/dSLR), your cellphone camera may hae a Sony sensor. Your PC might have Sony batteries. If you play Blu-Rays, you

  • by giorgist (1208992) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:16AM (#40395611)
    And Apple will make your screen like those 80s mirror glasses and call it a feature.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by macs4all (973270)

      And Apple will make your screen like those 80s mirror glasses and call it a feature.

      ORLY?

      Then explain THIS Press Release [apple.com], which says, in part "The Retina display uses IPS technology for a 178-degree wide viewing angle, and has 75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast than the previous generation." (which verbage was pretty much duplicated in Phil Schiller's demo of the MBPwRD at WWDC last week.

      But you just go on spewin' that Apple Hate. Afterall, you came to the right place (Slashdot).

      Also, Moth-Eye AG coatings existed before Sony's Patent. Here's one that has been a [hydro-international.com]

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast than the previous generation."

        Which is 75% reflection than what is pretty much a perfect mirror.
        I hope Apple finally wizened up and start to make their displays usable, because I detest the fact that they made mirror-monitors popular, so all the idiot bosses decide to buy monitors that look good only when switched off. I still occasionally see reflective screens advertised as a feature instead of hidden shamefully in the small print. My Galaxy S+ has a reflective screen which was "fixed" by adding a matte screen protector. The screen pr

        • Glossy screens do bother me too. However, it turns out that Apple does use use glass with anti-reflective coatings. The current revision iMac has a surface that cuts reflections roughly in half. I was pretty surprised when I realized that. I just wished the industry used even stronger coatings though.

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          Although it only works well in a dark room with no windows, a glossy screen gets you better contrast and brightness by not having that anti-glare coating.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:16AM (#40395617)

    The uneven surface means that light won't just bounce back off the screen creating a reflection

    What, the film absorbs (almost) everything? If so, where the energy goes? In heating the screen?

    (not to mention the "light won't just bounce back..." invites a continuation on the line of "... but also...")

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      The uneven surface means that light won't just bounce back off the screen creating a reflection

      What, the film absorbs (almost) everything? If so, where the energy goes? In heating the screen?

      (not to mention the "light won't just bounce back..." invites a continuation on the line of "... but also...")

      Two options:
      1 - Absorbed: It will heat the screen just as much as having it turned upside down heats the back; not much.
      2 - Scattered: You can avoid reflection by just scattering the light in a very large angle.

      My guess is that it will be a mix of both.

      • by PhilHibbs (4537)

        It must be scattering it, if the post is in any way accurate about it being just an uneven surface. Which means you will still get just as much light reflected off the screen on a sunny day, but the reflection won't form a coherent image to distract you from the screen image. So it's a step forward but it isn't magic.

        • by Thanshin (1188877)

          It does look like magic. Search a video on youtube about a group of japanese researchers who did that with a window.

          We see clean transparent glass by its reflection. When that's removed, it looks like solid air.

          • by PhilHibbs (4537)

            That's a window with nothing on the other side - a screen is a window with an LCD slapped up against the other side. Big difference. The light will still wash out the LCD image, but you will not be distracted by a coherent reflection of yourself or your surroundings.

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          It must be scattering it, if the post is in any way accurate about it being just an uneven surface. Which means you will still get just as much light reflected off the screen on a sunny day, but the reflection won't form a coherent image to distract you from the screen image. So it's a step forward but it isn't magic.

          I'm afraid of not much of it being actually scattered. Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org]:

          The [moth-eye] structure consists of a hexagonal pattern of bumps, each roughly 200 nm high and spaced on 300 nm centers.[5] This kind of antireflective coating works because the bumps are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, so the light sees the surface as having a continuous refractive index gradient between the air and the medium, which decreases reflection by effectively removing the air-lens interface.

          If I'm right, this would mean: What's good for moths at night-time may not be that good for Sony's screens during daytime. Letting the screen in full sun may be sure way to get it burnt (have you tried to walk barefoot on asphalt pathways during a hot summer day?)

          • by Immerman (2627577)

            Actually most of the incoming light will strike the screen regardless, only a fraction gets reflected, so leaving it in the sun is a bad idea whether or not 10 or 20% of it is reflected. On the other hand making the screen bright enough to overpower the reflection will probably require an image somewhere on the order of 10-100x as bright as the reflection, and you'd better believe all that power use is heating up the device even faster, not to mention rapidly sucking the battery dry.

        • by PhilHibbs (4537)

          Further reading indicates that the moth-eye coating removes the air-glass surface interface that causes the reflection, so the fraction of light that would have ben reflected passes straight through instead. So then it hits the screen below... what happens then I'm not sure, I guess some of it is converted to heat and the rest is scattered back. Since the amount of light that is reflected at the air-glass surface is quite low anyway, I doubt that this will make a significant change one way or the other to t

        • by JoeRobe (207552)

          I agree that it sounds like a scattering mechanism, but in that case how is it different than a simple matte finish? Matte finishes are just roughened enough to scatter rather than reflect images. I was hoping they'd announced a near perfect AR coating method.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        Two options: 1 - Absorbed: It will heat the screen just as much as having it turned upside down heats the back; not much.

        Almost black body - may turn unpleasantly hot in direct sun (bitumen/asphalt on pathways during a hot day? Don't walk barefoot.)

        2 - Scattered: You can avoid reflection by just scattering the light in a very large angle.

        My guess is that it will be a mix of both.

        This do mean diffuse reflection - which is not quite "non-existent reflection"

        • by mark-t (151149)

          Bearing in mind that a significant percentage of light passes right through it...

          The relatively small amount of remaining light that would have been otherwise reflected by normal glass could probably get entirely absorbed by the film and only contribute negligibly to heating up the surface.

        • by Exrio (2646817)

          This do mean diffuse reflection - which is not quite "non-existent reflection"

          Well let's not forget the forest by looking too much at the leaves, for the purpose of looking at pictures on a screen such a diffuse reflection could indeed be described as "non-existent reflection". It's the subjective impression non-pedantic human observers (ie. most, thankfully) will have.

        • by cellocgw (617879)

          Two options: 1 - Absorbed: It will heat the screen just as much as having it turned upside down heats the back; not much.

          Almost black body - may turn unpleasantly hot in direct sun (bitumen/asphalt on pathways during a hot day? Don't walk barefoot.)
          There's an awful lot of uneducated posts in this thread from people who know nothing at all about optics or thermodynamics. Here are a couple facts from me, IAAPAOE (physicist and optical engineer). 1) Uncoated glass has a reflectivity of about 4%, increasing

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      The uneven surface means that light won't just bounce back off the screen creating a reflection

      What, the film absorbs (almost) everything? If so, where the energy goes? In heating the screen?

      (not to mention the "light won't just bounce back..." invites a continuation on the line of "... but also...")

      No, the film doesn't absorb the incoming light, the nanostructures create a region that has a smooth transition in refractive index, so instead of light bending sharply at the boundary and losing some of the energy to reflection it all curves smoothly and hits the screen. So yeah, now 99% of the incoming light will hit the screen instead of 75%, and it will heat up a little faster.

  • by redcliffe (466773) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:24AM (#40395667) Homepage Journal

    just not making laptop screens deliberately shiny so tards will buy them because oooh shiny?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      that and 4:3 screens

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Matte screens have lower effective contrast, brightness, and sharpness than reflective screens.
      Hence the general market shift to shiny.

      My laptop has a max brightness setting that is almost painfully bright anywhere expect direct sunlight.
      I'd kill to get that level of brightness behind a matte screen. It'd be perfect everywhere.

  • An uneven surface? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lxs (131946) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:30AM (#40395695)

    The key to the low reflectance is the formation of an uneven surface, which consists of both concave and convex structures (tiny bumps) that cover the entire film.

    From that description it sounds like Sony has reinvented screens with matte finish. Surely there is more to this.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      1. make almost all matte screens disappear from market
      2. wait a few years until non-savvy people forget that we used to have matte screens
      3. reinvent matte screen and sell it for a premium
      4. ...
      5. Profit !

      joke aside, I don't understand the difference with matte screen either and I'd love someone to enlighten us all.
    • by 6031769 (829845) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @05:02AM (#40395821) Homepage Journal

      Indeed there is more to it. This is a screen for "smartphones and tablets" ie. a touchscreen with a matt finish. That is the novelty here.

      • by dargaud (518470)

        Indeed there is more to it. This is a screen for "smartphones and tablets" ie. a touchscreen with a matt finish. That is the novelty here.

        The problem with matte screens is that they are besically impossible to clean. I punch my cow workers if they put their greasy fingers on my screen after the 1st warning. So hopefuly they've found a screen surface that cleans easily like a glossy one, but without the reflections.

        • So hopefuly they've found a screen surface that cleans easily like a glossy one, but without the reflections.

          I suppose it's possible to find something that's bumpy at optical scales but smooth at molecular scales.

    • by fgouget (925644)

      From that description it sounds like Sony has reinvented screens with matte finish. Surely there is more to this.

      Yes. The answer comes from Wikipedia's description of the nanoscale structure found in Moth Eyes [wikipedia.org]:

      Moths' eyes have an unusual property: their surfaces are covered with a natural nanostructured film which eliminates reflections. [...] The structure consists of a hexagonal pattern of bumps, each roughly 200 nm high and spaced on 300 nm centers. This kind of antireflective coating works because the bumps are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, so the light sees the surface as having a continuous refractive index gradient between the air and the medium, which decreases reflection by effectively removing the air-lens interface.

  • Moth eye coating (Score:4, Informative)

    by teslar (706653) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @04:32AM (#40395707)

    Philips has a television [philips.co.uk] with a moth-eye coating (just that though; not a combination with other coatings as in Sony's approach) available. Just read the review [reghardware.com] this morning. Seems a bit fragile though - I wonder if this will also apply to Sony's new film (I guess it won't since that'd be rubbish on a smartphone, but TFA does not actually address it):

    Amazingly, it works - but thereâ(TM)s a caveat. The filter requires extreme care, so much so that Philips supplies a proprietary cleaning solution to remove any thumbprint smudges. This fragility makes the screen a questionable purchase for those with young families.

  • by PatPending (953482) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @05:07AM (#40395845)
    Before Sony can commercially produce this, they have to overcome one hurdle: how to stop a device with this coating from gravitating to bright lights!
    • Each product with this coating will have this warning prominently displayed:

      WARNING: DO NOT PLACE NEAR MOTHBALLS

  • Was it perhaps developed by a Sony employee named...

    Matt?

    Thanks, I'll be here all week.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one who got vastly confused by this?

    "New Film Renders Screen..."
    Me: Hmm... shouldn’t the screen render the film?

    "... Reflection Almost Non-Existent"
    Me: Well, duh. Film is not exactly smart, so of course it won't be able to reflect about things that much.

    Aaah, Slashdot headlines... so much fun, nobody even reads TFS any more. ;)

  • I expect Sony won't license this and prevent Samsung etc from using this.
    I want free choice on phones but this is a very useful thing for me to have on a phone.

    Should you be able to buy an aftermarket plastic film to stick on anything you want?

    look out moths! I'm gonna mash you up and sell your eyes on Taobao!

    I guess making bumps less than lights wavelength is not something I can do at home right? I mean, a rep rap hasn't got that precision... hmm...

  • by killmenow (184444) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:37AM (#40397407)
    How about they put this shit on car windshields? I'd love to stop getting blinded by the sun's reflection bouncing off the rear glass of the car in front of me.
    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      Personally I've got polarized sunglasses that help enourmously with this issue. But I have wondered why car makers, especially luxury brands, haven't added a polarized coating to the insides of their windscreens.

  • Nice, it sounds excellent. My only concerns would be price, Sony licensing it out to others, and how well is it going to hold up to daily wear and tear? If the surface is that special, then the top edges of shapes on the surface maybe subjected to rapid wear. This could defeat the effect and you could be in a worse boat than if it didn't have the coating at all.

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