Samsung seems to think see-through screens are a good idea again

Transparent screen patent
Touchscreens of the future could have both front and back controls

As if curved screens like the one on the Samsung Galaxy Round weren't enough, the South Korean company has now filed a patent for a transparent display.

The patent, which was turned up by PatentBolt, describes a transparent display with both front and backside touch controls.

There are obvious advantages to this as it would allow users to make use of the otherwise empty space on the back of a handset and navigate a smartphone without obscuring the screen with their fingers.

For example, you could tap on the back of the screen to open a folder or use it to pause or rewind a video, thereby ensuring you don't miss anything by covering the front of the screen.

Future potential

But the potential uses can go even deeper than that. One example given in the patent application is of simultaneously moving two overlapping objects. One can be dragged by sliding across the front of the screen and the other by dragging across the back.

The technology could also be used to create more complex and secure pattern locks on a phone, where both the front and back of the screen are used.

Transparent screens aren't an entirely new concept. Sony Ericsson braved the see-through waters with the Xperia Pureness back in 2009 and there's been talk since then of the tech becoming more mainstream, but as yet not much has come of it.

With a household name like Samsung on board though this could be the next big thing - although given we got a headache using the Pureness' transparent display, we don't have high hopes for this idea from Samsung.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.