The world's thinnest display: a soap bubble

Posted by Kate Taylor

A Japanese-US team says it's developed the world's thinnest display - a soap bubble that can even show 3D images.

The screen's created using a bubble mixture that's not all that different from the stuff your kids play with. However, a few extra ingredients, colloids, make it much tougher and harder to pop - indeed, objects can be passed right through the membrane without breaking it.

Ultrasonic waves are used to alter the screen's properties, making it rougher or smoother, and thus more or less transparent, and allowing 2D or 3D images to be displayed.

"[The] membrane can change its transparency and surface states depending on the scales of ultrasonic waves," says lead researcher Yoichi Ochiai from the University of Tokyo on his blog.

"The combination of the ultrasonic waves and ultra thin membranes makes more realistic, distinctive, and vivid imageries on screen."

Using more than one screen allows 3D images to be displayed.

The team's applied for a patent on its invention, saying that it could open up a new path for display engineering with sharp imageries, transparency, bidirectional reflectance distribution function and flexibility.

There's a video of it in action, below.