Technology brings us new gadgets every day but we’ve always seemed to be dreaming of gadgets more than we see them come to reality. We wrote about historical predictions of future technology before but unfortunately cars are still not flying and Mattel still didn’t make that hoverboard yet. However, it seems like the last couple of years we’ve been seeing more ‘futuristic’ gadgets come to life and transparent screens definitely fit that category.
This smartphone prototype made by a Taiwan-based technology company shows the first real-life application of a transparent multi touch screen. It is still very much a prototype and the phone isn’t running Android or iOS just yet but it proves it can be done. An interesting side effect is that it poses a whole new problem for designers. Usually there is a whole bunch of chips, circuit boards or batteries hidden behind a screen since, well, you can’t see behind the screen anyway. With a transparent screen you can’t have any of that if you don’t want to ruin the experience of a transparent screen. Designers would therefore need to come up with more clever ways to hide these necessary elements.
Even though a transparent phone makes for a beautiful looking gadget, at the end of the day technologies will only prevail if they add value for the end user. The image quality of the screen would have to be at least at the same standard as other screen technologies like LCD or OLED in order to become interesting enough for designers to play around with. If that isn’t the case (yet) there would have to be other added value that would make is useful. Just like how the first generation Nintendo Wii managed to compete with the technologically more advanced XBox and Playstation because of its interesting way of interaction. We could imagine a transparent screen being used to create two touch surfaces: one on the front of the phone and one on the back. Since you would be able to see your fingers behind the phone it could make for an extra form of input while your thumb or thumbs interact with the front touch screen.
Regardless of the short term implementation possibilities it’s great to start seeing our Hollywood technology fantasies come to life!