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The age of hard corner LCD displays is coming to an end with Japanese electronic giant Sharp creating the world’s first ‘free-form’ display, with in-vehicle applications the highlight of the new technology.

Current LCD panels are restricted to rectangular or square shapes due to the display’s circuitry but the new technology provides the means to create display designs that can be shaped to a variety of applications.

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The new LCD panels will give vehicle designers the opportunity to create displays with no definite corners, so in-car entertainment screens can finally be seamlessly integrated with the car’s dash or instrument cluster.

The technology works by removing the drive circuit as a separate part of the display hidden behind the bezel. Sharp’s proprietary system allows the circuitry to be embedded into the actual display’s pixels, so no bezel or definite shape is required.

The displays use a combination of IGZO and TFT backplane technology, which should mean a high resolution and crystal clear display, a necessity for modern in-car entertainment systems.

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Apart from in-vehicle applications, the technology is also likely to open doors for wearable smart devices that require a free flowing form.

Sharp has given no indication of when the technology can be mass produced, but given the lengthy timeframe for a vehicle to go from design to production, the in-vehicle applications may still be a few years away.




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