Sharp introduced on Wednesday the Free-Form Display, a new technology that allows device makers to create gadgets that break through the typical square and rectangular form factor limits. That means new display shapes like curved screens on a smartwatch that fits more naturally on any arm, fully digital dashboards in cars, and so on.
"Conventional displays are rectangular because they require a minimal width for the bezel in order to accommodate the drive circuit, called the gate driver, around the perimeter of the screen's display area," explains the company's announcement.
According to Sharp, this new display incorporates IGZO technology and proprietary "circuit design methods." The gate driver's function, the PR explains, is dispersed throughout the pixels on the display area. Because of this, the bezel shrinks and allows users to match whatever shape they need.
As an example, the company's prototype is the dashboard of a car, combining a speedometer with the gas gauge, temperature gauge and so on. There are only two square angles located at the base where it's connected to the display stand; the rest is all curves (shown above).
"There are other possibilities for displays with sophisticated designs that include wearable devices with elliptical displays and digital signage and other large monitors that draw the viewer into the onscreen world," the PR states.
Currently, the company plans to go into mass production "at the earliest possible date." When exactly that will be is unknown at this point, but it will be interesting to see how device makers will take to the new technology. Smartwatches, car dashboards, smartphones; the possibilities are seemingly endless.