These days, we are seeing more and more cars that are coming with large colour screens that form everything from the infotainment system to the instrument cluster and even the climate controls. While this trend is shaking up the inside of your next car, interior designers are still bound by the rectangular shapes these displays come in.
That could all change, however, with the new Sharp Free-Form Display, which enables very thin bezels and can be built in whatever shape that is required. Of course, there are a myriad of consumer products that could benefit hugely from such attributes, such as smartphones, wearable devices and televisions, but it is the vehicular applications that we are most interested in.
Conventional displays are typically rectangular because they require a minimum bezel width to fit the circuitry around the display area. The Free-Form Display, on the other hand, spreads this circuitry across the display area, granting a possibly infinite number of shapes.
The company showcased a couple of designs targeted at automotive applications – a climate control display that neatly integrates the control knobs, as well as an instrument cluster display in a shape that fits the rev counter, speedometer and fuel gauge much more closely.
The latter will give designers greater freedom in shaping the instrument binnacle, potentially putting an end to the enormous rectangular binnacles that are starting to afflict cars like the W222 S-Class.
Sharp did not give a timeframe for the availability of these displays, but did say it was planning to mass produce them “at the earliest possible date”.