OSAKA, Japan – Sharp Corp. has unveiled new technology for displays. The Japanese company that pioneered LCDs for pocket calculators and watches is now introducing the Free-Form Display. As its name implies, Sharp's latest touchscreen LCD can be manufactured into various shapes, beyond squares and rectangles.
Traditional displays were confined to square or rectangular shapes because they needed bezel space to accommodate drive circuits. The new screen uses IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology, which disperses drive functions over the entire display area. This allows for a smaller bezel, giving Sharp the ability to create screens in a variety of shapes.
Sharp says the technology is "revolutionary" because it enables the creation of display designs to match applications. For instance, at its rollout, Sharp showcased a screen with a curvy instrument panel for a car.
The technology also lends itself to wearable devices, elliptical displays, signage and large monitors. In the vending and videogame industries, the new technology "flips the script," allowing engineers to design a screen around a machine, rather than design the unit around the screen.
Sharp said mass production for its Free-Form Display will start in the near future.