Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Extendable TFT LCD

Plug bits in at the edges
  [vote for,

Displays can be expensive. Looking briefly on eBay, i found a thirty " TFT LCD for three hundred-odd quid and a fifteen " one for fifty, which look about the same quality. The first is only four times the size of the second but six times the price.
My solution is this: Make an eight " monitor at VGA resolution which costs maybe twenty quid, with a socket, hinged bevels and a good PSU. Opening the hinges reveals slots which can be used to plug in other monitors of the same resolution, seamlessly but with flexible joints. When this is done, firmware within the monitor upgrades it to its new shape and resolution, and circuitry of some kind of hand-wavy type allows it to be used as part of the display. The main monitor is plugged into the device using the display and automatically upgrades the resolution options accordingly on the display driver.
There are two advantages to this: cost and shape. The display can be rectangular, square, cruciform, letter- or word-shaped, stacked in a pyramid arrangement or maybe in a horizontal ring or a cuboid to simulate three dimensions, all of which is communicated to the monitor driver. Costwise, you could develop a serious monitor addiction and end up buying a monitor a week for a year, ending up with a potential horizontal resolution of thirty thousand pixels or a potential vertical one of twenty-four thousand, though not at the same time.
In the meantime, the company making the monitors wins, since even people with hardly any money can buy them and gradually upgrade, providing a more reliable income from a larger slice of the population.
nineteenthly, Jun 18 2009

Alternate tech http://www.mirasold...play-technology.php
I thought of an Idea like the main topic here some time ago, but for this particular technology, because it is far superior to LCD screens. Since it was such a niche idea, though, I never posted it. [Vernon, Jun 19 2009]

Smart sand display Smart_20sand_20display
Try this then [nineteenthly, Jun 23 2009]

About lightpipes http://www2.electro...r-jun2005-html.aspx
[BunsenHoneydew, Jun 27 2009]

Lightpipes http://en.wikipedia..._electronic_devices
Obligatory wikipedia article [BunsenHoneydew, Jun 27 2009]


       The hard bit would be getting it to display pixels right up to the edge.
hippo, Jun 18 2009

       I agree. How about having a pixel-free transparent edge at the front acting as a prism and the last few rows at an angle? The bevel works that way too, so it technically doesn't display them up to the edge, but refracts the next lot of pixels into the gap. Then again, i could be talking bollocks.
nineteenthly, Jun 18 2009

       Lovely in principle, but I'm not too sure in practice.   

       For starters, 8" LCD monitors at VGA or better are hideously expensive, compared to the current "standard" size for desktop computer use. I've been searching for a cheapish one for a hardware hack for ages. I guess it has to do with the smaller monitors being a niche product, whereas the larger ones benefit from economy of scale and competition.   

       Still, even if this was based on perplexingly cheaper 15" or 17" LCDs, you end up selling a base display with a much more capable controller PCB than it would otherwise contain, thus raising the entry price compared to the competition.   

       The promise of future expandability would also have to compete with simply buying a second, complete, LCD monitor - and given the higher entry point, quite favourably.   

       And I'm betting there would be competitor lock-out on the expansion panels, through non-standard connectors, for example. It would be great to be able to drop in bare LCD panels from any supplier - even if restricted to a single model - but I can't see the business case for that for the maker of the base unit.   

       Still, I want one couriered to my door by yesterday [+]
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 19 2009

       On the other hand, one of the larger manufacturers who actually make their own LCD panels (like Sharp or Samsung) could go for this. Hmmm...
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 19 2009

       Existing LCD display technologies require connections along at least one horizontal edge and one vertical edge. I don't know how you plan to allow for a seamless join. It might be possible to relatively seamlessly construct a large display from four smaller ones, but each of those displays would have to be specially constructed according to is role (upper-left, upper-right, lower-left, or lower-right).
supercat, Jun 19 2009

       Maybe go for the cheaper, bigger screens then, [BunsenHoneydew]. The advantage of arranging the screens in different patterns remains.
Seamless joins? Well, how about either curving the screens at the edges but refracting them into position, so the edge isn't where it appears to be but behind the display? Or, have them slot together in the same directions. That would restrict the arrangement possibilities.
nineteenthly, Jun 19 2009

       //Seamless joins? Well, how about either curving the screens at the edges but refracting them into position, so the edge isn't where it appears to be but behind the display?//   

       For some loss of efficiency, one could use a screen that was smaller than the display surface, and then have it connected to the display surface via fiber-optic cables. If one did that, it might be practical to have seamless screens, which would in turn allow enhanced yield ratios and make certain types of repairs practical.   

       Depending upon how well fiber optics can work over moderate distances, it might be practical to segregate the red, green, and blue pixels so that each color of pixels may be lit by an appropriate-color light source. The efficiency gain from doing that (as distinct from using a white light source and color-filtering each pixel) might outweigh or at least offset the loss from the fiber optics.
supercat, Jun 22 2009

       That sounds like a workable option, but i'm puzzled by what you mean by "moderate distances". Considering that laser light is regularly sent over fibre optic cables kilometres in length (i think), is there a difficulty in sending LED light over a few centimetres?
nineteenthly, Jun 22 2009

       When sending laser signals over a group of fibers, it won't matter if all fibers attenuate their signals by different amounts. Differences between pixels in a display screen, however, would likely be noticeable and objectionable. If one had a good calibration method it might be possible to compensate for variations in fiber by varying the brightness of the driving pixels, but if most pixels' peak brightness had to be limited to allow the worst fibers to provide enough light, that would eliminate some of the efficiency gained by using separate LCDs for red, green, and blue.
supercat, Jun 23 2009

       Ah, so you're talking about redundancy over a distance? In that case, i wonder if there are any transparent photoelectric materials, because they could be used to calibrate the light by picking it up at the end, comparing it to the intended frequency and adjusting the brightness accordingly. I have another plan now.
nineteenthly, Jun 23 2009


       "circuitry of some kind of hand-wavy type"
normzone, Jun 23 2009

       I would suggest a fresnel type lens overlaid on the LCD could be used to displace an unmodified panel a few pixels to the left, right, up, or down, to align with the edges of the central display
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 23 2009

       BTW - which of the LCD join suggestions here could work for a folding (clamshell) phone/media player/PDA?   

       Concept is a (roughly) A5 display from a (roughly) A6 size device.   

       Particularly if the screens are touch sensitive & ideally haptic feedback enabled -> allowing the device to display whatever input interface (numpad, QWERTY, custom form, etc) is appropriate, on one and/or both screens.   

       I had always thought we had to wait for (effective) folding LCD screens ... but maybe not? (esp. given that it doesn't need to be continually expandable and there is only one join to work on)
kindachewy, Jun 24 2009

       [BunsenHoneydew], that sounds possible. I assume the grooves on the lens would be of the same size roughly as the pixels, or smaller. Are you thinking of a thin strip along the edges?
[Kindachewy], if you're going to do that, it could maybe fold into four rather than two, since it seems there'd be enough free edges to allow that. Are there not displays which can be rolled up?
nineteenthly, Jun 24 2009

       No, I was thinking the entire panel would have to be displaced the required amount, so there would be no stretching distortion at the edges, and no need for customised panels and/or display drivers. Yes, the grooves would need to align with the pixel pitch, unless they were extremely finely grated.   

       I guess by "fresnel lens", I really mean whatever geometry of cheap, stamped out plastic most resembles a fine grid of lightpipes [link] with the required, matching, kinks and twists in them
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 27 2009

       Or a very flat periscope
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 27 2009

       The display could be arranged in such a way that, without the lens, the pixels are smaller at the edges and magnified and displaced, which is what i think you have in mind, but that sounds expensive.
nineteenthly, Jun 27 2009

       Trying to use imaging optics to enlarge or displace a virtual image will yield a picture whose size and location depend upon the viewer's position. If one were to arrange a matrix of LCD screens with fresnel lenses in front of them, it may be possible to place them so someone standing exactly the right distance away would see the screens exactly touching, but anyone at any other distance would see the screens either too small (leaving gaps) or too big (obscuring the edges obscured).   

       If one used a ground-class screen and used imaging optics to produce real images thereon, one could generate images using multiple LCDs and, if one got the alignment perfect, place the images adjacent to each other seamlessly. Getting the adjustment just right might be difficult, but it would be possible. If one is going to do that, however, it might be more practical to simply use a projection set from the get-go.
supercat, Jun 30 2009

       Other than the hexagonality, that sounds like my linked idea.
nineteenthly, Jun 30 2009

       lol, thought it sounded familiar.
FlyingToaster, Jun 30 2009


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