It all started with the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT). Conceptualised in 1897, commercialised in 1922 and out came the first commercial CRT TV in 1954. CRTs were the single most popular display screen technology used in television sets and computer monitors for over half a century. It was until the 2000s that CRTs started to phase out to LCDs.

Digital displays are everywhere! Like your phones, your watch, your fridge, your AC, etc – has a display in it. And the display technology has been constantly evolving. The future of displays shows a great potential. From the concepts we see today, we can say these are going to get a makeover soon. Technology has always been a tidal wave and we need to ride the wave to surf ahead into the future.

Now that’s that! In 2018, even LCD feels old school. The $750 iPhone XR has an LCD display but is highly criticised for not opting for superior display tech at that price range. So here are some of the future concepts we believe can replace the existing display technology:

1) Bendable screens:
Displays that can bend? You heard that right! The concept had been hovering around for so many years that the bendable screens have now seen the day of light, kind of. Samsung showed off it ‘infinity flex’ display where a phone can BEND itself! You can bend it half and use as a smartphone or open it up to use of a tablet. These bendable displays have opened up so many opportunities for other manufacturers to come up with their own display tech with a bend in it.

There are many advantages to a bendy screen. These flexible OLED displays have greater image quality. Slight curves and wrap around edges in displays for certain types of products can be beneficial to the size and durability of the screen. LG Display has already unveiled an 18 inch OLED display panel that is so bendy it can actually be rolled up, like a newspaper. Can you believe it? And the best thing – it doesn’t lose any image quality whatsoever!


2) Holograms:
Science fiction has given us hopes for holographic displays. From information popping out of a watch to actively interacting with the holograms – the movie Iron Man has given us potential goals for holographic displays. A hologram opens a wide range of possibilities. It isn’t bounded by a resolution of a screen. It is free standing and can be seen right in front of you, without the need of a screen. However, a technology that generates freestanding midair holograms without a projection surface still remains to become a reality. But the lengths we have come with the display tech, we believe, holographic aren’t really impossible!

3) Haptic feedback:
A touchscreen which touches you back – now that might sound scary for some! But imagine if you are accessing something on the screen, wouldn’t you love some tactile feedback, say experiencing a bit of what is being displayed on the screen through touch? That’s how haptic displays work. Instead of just swiping and touching the smooth surface of the screen, the haptic display provides you with tactile feedback to your finger as you scroll over items or click a button. You will actually feel the buttons and different textures displayed on the screen! An ultra-low electrical current is used to give a slight sensation to the skin creating a touchscreen that touches back.


4) Outdoor 3D billboards:
There have been attempts to create 3D displays without the need for 3D glasses. But all these attempts didn’t really take off as they were still in their conceptual stage and way ahead in the future. But now, there have been attempts to create 3D jumbotrons which can display 3D content sans the glasses!

3D screen
Vienna University of Technology in Austria released the specifications of a 3D billboard, which uses a technology based on 3D pixels. The projected images shift and move when the viewer changes direction and angle. It looks like 2D holograms that appear 3D. The system uses a fine combination of mirrors and lasers. They produce an angular resolution so fine, the left eye sees a different picture than the right eye. This means a 3D image is created without the need for 3D glasses. The technology is still in the early stages and as the technology develops, such displays won’t sound farfetched!

These concepts are fascinating. We have come a long way with electronic displays. Once we were hooked to the front of CRT televisions, now we are glued to the screens of our phone.  Maybe, in the future, we might have a virtual screen embedded into our brains so we can watch content anywhere, anytime. Who knows! Maybe that will become possible one day. The technologies are getting perfected every day and thus, the future of displays remains to be seen.