An ultra-thin LCD screen, developed by a group of researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, holds three-dimensional images without a power source, making the display technology a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

In a traditional LCD, liquid crystal molecules are sandwiched between polarized glass plates. Electrodes pass current through the apparatus, influencing the orientation of the liquid crystals inside and manipulating the way they interact with the polarized light.

The new displays ditch the electrodes, simultaneously making the screen thinner and decreasing its energy requirements. Once an image is uploaded to the screen via a flash of light, no power is required to keep it there. Because these so-called bi-stable displays draw power only when the image is changed, they are particularly advantageous in applications where a screen displays a static image for most of the time, such as e-book readers or battery status monitors for electronic devices.

“Because the proposed LCD does not have any driving electronics, the fabrication is extremely simple. The bi-stable feature provides a low power consumption display that can store an image for several years,” said researcher Abhishek Srivastava.

The researchers, however, went further than creating a simple LCD display; they engineered their screen to display images in 3D.

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Also: Learn about a Rapid Prototyping Lab (RPL) Generic Display Engine.