Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/06/hp_patents_see_through_screen/

HP patents teleprompter-esque transparent screen tech

Slat-tastic gear will mean you can never trust a window

By Brid-Aine Parnell

Posted in Science, 6th July 2012 06:31 GMT

HP has bagged a US patent on its way of making a see-through screen, which will let users see stuff onscreen as well as whatever's behind it.

Diagram from HP's see-through patent

The tech biggun isn't saying that it came up with the idea of a see-through screen or it should be the only one to have one, it's just made sure that its solution for how to make one belongs to it.

HP's idea is to use light-reflective slats in between the front and back screens so that light from the image behind the device comes through as well as the images produced on the front screen.

The firm said that something similar is already used for teleprompters, so that news-readers can appear to be looking into the camera when they're actually reading. But that tech only works one way at the moment, so only on one display, and it's not very good for producing grayscale or full-colour imagery.

A flexible, see-through display is arguably the next great step for tech firms and Samsung is also working on a way to make it happen. See-through displays would allow data to be overlaid on real world so it has obvious augmented reality purposes.

The see-through screen is already showing up in movies, so naturally it's only a matter of time before we actually get one. HP has even provided concept designs of transparent screens for recent Hugh Jackman vehicle Real Steel, which was apparently a heart-warming tale of Jackman training a discarded robot to box (no, seriously).

The HP ThruScreen is a thin-film see-through monitor while the HP Flex is a transparent laptop used by Jackman to control the robot. HP's YouTube videos carry this teasy 360 view of Flex, just in case you're not sure you want to see the movie: