June 19, 2014 6:07 am JST

Sharp frees LCD panels from rectangular shape

Sharp expects its new panel to expand options for car interior design.

OSAKA -- Sharp said Wednesday that it has developed an LCD panel that can be cut into any shape, paving the way for a wide array of applications including for automobiles and wearable devices.

     With the Free-Form Display, drive circuits are embedded across the display, instead of being placed around it. This allows panels to be liberated from their traditional rectangular form. The new panels also can be bent and even have holes.

     The Japanese company plans to put the product to commercial use by fiscal 2017.

     Sharp sees automobiles as among the most promising fields for the panel. The product could be used in various interior displays, particularly around the driver's seat, expanding design options, according to the company.

     The Japanese company is already in talks with about 10 major manufacturers in Europe, North America and Japan. In Europe, some are already proposing designs, said Norikazu Hohshi, senior executive managing officer.

     Wearable devices such as smart watches and glasses are other possible applications.

     Sharp will spend several billion yen over the next few years to upgrade production facilities in Taki, Mie Prefecture, to make the new panel. When orders increase, it will launch mass production at its mainstay Kameyama plant in the same prefecture.

(Nikkei)

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