New technological breakthroughs from Japanese electronics company Panasonic prove that the future is indeed here, bringing those sci-fi scenarios we could only dream of closer to reality.
An improved version of the company's transparent TV was unveiled yesterday in this year's Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) conference in Japan.
First revealed at the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January, the newer prototype fixed some of the earlier model's shortcomings, making the display more transparent and the image is reported to be "almost indistinguishable from existing televisions."
The CES prototype's image was a little bit on the dim side and it required external lighting to brighten the image. There was also a slightly discernible tint when the TV was turned off. With this new model, however, the TV set is virtually invisible when turned off and the picture is bright and crisp when it is on.
How does it work? Panasonic's invisible TV uses OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology. This screen technology is now widely used in monitors, TVs and smartphones.
By feeding electricity through a layer of plastic between a cathode and an anode on a piece of glass, OLED pixels can generate light on their own and unlike LCD screens, do not require backlighting. In transparent OLED TVs, the screen is entirely made up of transparent components, making the screen invisible when turned off.
In the CEATEC demo, they positioned the transparent TV as a glass sliding door of an entertainment shelf. When turned off, the TV looks like an ordinary piece of glass, revealing the ornaments on the shelf behind it. But voila, when turned on, the see-through sliding door is actually a TV. Incredible!
Unfortunately, this prototype is not available to the public yet. Panasonic says we might not see it on retail shelves for the next three years.
For another look at this stunning display technology, here's Panasonic's older IFA 2016 demo:
In another 2016 CEATEC new product unveiling, Panasonic revealed what appears to be a flexible and bendable lithium-ion battery.
Designed for use in card-type gadgets and wearables, the battery is ultra-thin at about 0.022 inches. Wow!
The battery is said to retain its characteristics even after being repeatedly bent and with this flexibility, it could be incorporated in emerging technologies like smart wearables and flexible phones.
Currently, the battery's capacity is still small, about 17.5mAh ( for comparison, an iPhone 7 has a 1.960mAh battery) so this certainly still has limited practical use.
It is a step in the right direction, though, and when they eventually perfect this tech, it will open up many interesting possibilities in the portable, bendable and rollable gadgets of the near future.
Still not convinced that the future is now?
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Are you excited about all these new technological advancements? Tell us what you think in the comments below.