In an innovative but very geeky endeavor, Sumasa, a writer at Japanese tech site PC Watch, successfully transformed a discarded $10 monitor into a transparent LCD screen, and detailed his progress, which included more than a few failures along the way.
Transparent displays have been around for quite some time and offer a sense of depth, which is why they are commonly seen at exhibitions (Sumasa says he first saw one at COMPUTEX TAIPEI in 2012). However, while popular with B2B firms, their application for individual use is still in its early stages.
The transformation process involved in this project is simple in theory but required some meticulous execution. Sumasa used an LCD panel and created a transparent display by removing its backlight component. This required careful removal of several components including the case, light guide plate, diffuser plate, lens film, and bezel.
Trial and error
Sumasa chose to install the 24-inch LCD panel inside a PC case which was just large enough to accommodate it comfortably.
The process of transforming an LCD panel into a transparent display proved more challenging than initially anticipated, and Sumasa quickly discovered that the display wasn't as transparent as expected.
He sacrificed a number of screens along the way to find one that worked best, with the main takeaway being that a normally white TN panel is more suitable for a transparent display than an IPS or VA panel.
After a lot of trial and error, Sumasa managed to successfully incorporate the working transparent display into his PC case and the final product, though not perfect, demonstrated the potential of transparent displays in enhancing the look of desktop PCs.
The winning LCD panel was procured from a junk store in Akihabara (an area of Tokyo well known for its many electronics retailers) for the bargain price of just 1000 yen ($6.74).
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Wayne Williams is a freelancer writing news for TechRadar Pro. He has been writing about computers, technology, and the web for 30 years. In that time he wrote for most of the UK’s PC magazines, and launched, edited and published a number of them too.