Apple patents new LCD screen design


We could soon see a new kind of display screen from computer maker Apple – one that simultaneously takes pictures while showing images.
The clever idea is to insert thousands of microscopic image sensors in-between the liquid crystal display cells in the screen. Each sensor captures its own small image, but software stitches these together to create a single, larger picture.
A large LCD screen filled with image sensors would be ideal for videoconferencing, Apple suggests, as participants would always appear to look straight into the "camera". The technique could also add a camera function to a cellphone or PDA without wasting space, and light from the screen should help illuminate a subject.
The more sensors there are, the wider and clearer the image. Sketches accompanying the company's patent show as many sensors as liquid crystal cells in a screen. If some of the sensors have different focal lengths, switching between them would make the screen behave like a zoom lens.

I'm not really sure how useful this would be, but it would save space in laptops. It would probably consume more power though.


Mac Enthusiast
I think I've heard of this technology. If it's the one I'm thinking of, then rather than having one cathode ray tube like a TV projecting an image onto the screen, it'll have one for every single pixel. Apparently it's a lot clearer and has faster refresh rates than LCD.

If that's not it, well then, ignore me :confused:


Uber Nothing
This reminds me of something pre-Minority Report. I think it's an amazing feat... and while maybe not exceptionally useful, it will eminently lead to even more sci-fi like inventions.


Staff member
hehe... ;) Yeah, but just think about how it'd improve iChat AV. Suddenly, you _can_ look into someone's eyes as if the person would be standing right before you. With an iSight _above_ the screen, it's only "near good". I personally don't want such a screen, I'm not using my webcam basically at all. (Every few months I bring it up to test if it still works, but rarely actually use it...) But I guess - even without talking Minority Report - there's a future ahead of us where screens _are_ cameras. Seems "natural", and we'll probably one day look back at the days of "normal" TFTs and think about how strange it was that those screens could only _display_ pictures.


Crotchety UI Nitpicker
Personally, if someone managed to hack my machine and get unfettered access, them seeing my ugly mug would be the least of my worries. I imagine this would be the case in virtually any environment. So basically, standard security measures will be just fine.

I have far more private things in my computer than I have in my computer room neatly displayed in front of my monitor. :)


I guess one could couple this with face recognition software and then you can use your face as your login password (or as a second security check). Could also snap pictures of other people trying to locally access your computer (i.e. enter password in wrong 3 times and 'snap' know who tried to access your system). Hey, this can be done with the iSights built in now, can't it?


Crotchety UI Nitpicker
I think the most interesting potential is using it as an input device. We already have touch-screens (sort of), but this could be even better. Forget mouse gestures; let's use real gestures. (Hmm...I wonder if I could map "Force Quit" to my middle finger. ;))

That and scanning are two things that an iSight really couldn't do.


Depending on the amount of power consumption it would need, perhaps iPod? I think alot of people would be amazed to find their music player can double up as a small video recording device. I dunno whether they could implement it into the iPod or what but it's a thought.


Uber Nothing
Mikuro said:
Forget mouse gestures; let's use real gestures. (Hmm...I wonder if I could map "Force Quit" to my middle finger. ;))

Right on, right on. Now that's something Windows users would be very envious of... although, I know that I used to do it so much, an application would be lucky to stay open...