Moving Light to the Front: Opportunities Ahead for Frontlit Displays

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018

frontlit displays

Frontlit Displays Deliver a Better, Low-Power User Experience

E-reader products like the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook have revolutionized our reading experience. Equally important, they’ve popularized a new lighting experience known as the frontlit display. This technology enhances visibility and decreases power consumption, making end consumers extremely happy with their performance.

Backup…What Is a Frontlit Display?

Simply put, frontlights direct light at the display itself instead of at your face.

Here’s the detailed explanation: As small, portable electronic devices became more prevalent, manufacturers like Sharp and E Ink developed reflective, frontlit displays that project an image when ambient light reflects off of the display’s surface. Since light does not have to travel through the display from a backlight, the device doesn’t consume as much power.

On the flip side, backlit displays, which are common in many of our phones, tablets, and laptops, project light from behind the screen and directly into our eyes. Not only are they harder on the eyes, but they drain our much-needed battery life much more quickly because the light must travel through the display to reach the user.

A Frontlit Display Future

Over the last ten years, product manufacturers have developed different proprietary lighting materials and technologies to make frontlit displays a reality. As their usability and affordability continue to increase, it’s safe to assume we’ll continue to see frontlit displays used across a variety of power-hungry LCD applications. Some exciting areas of opportunity include:

  • In-store product displays – As a shopper, you may not notice how often pricing information and signage within stores is updated, but it’s close to every day. Retailers can save a lot of time and money, and become “greener”, by eliminating paper stickers and utilizing a frontlit display technology.
  • Wayfinding signage – Print and digital signage across major roadways and complex places to navigate (i.e. airports, stadiums, museums, parking lots, etc.) change constantly. Instead of creating new signs all of the time, these organizations can leverage all-digital, frontlit signage that can be easily updated and more visible at every hour of the day.
  • Consumer electronics – We already mentioned e-readers, but products like smartwatches and handheld gaming devices that consume a lot of power can benefit from a frontlit display.
  • Medical devices – Whether it’s a tiny wireless device like a thermometer or a larger heart monitor, frontlit display technology can satisfy the need for easy-to-read content and results.

A Winning Combination: Reflective / E Ink Displays and Frontlight Technology

As the demand for frontlit displays grows, our team has been at the forefront of developing light guide technology that can be used to create a brilliant user experience. Our ultra-thin light guides, which can taper down to a thinness of 0.2 mm, can help you maintain a sleek profile, reduce the number of LEDs needed and decrease overall power consumption all while projecting a clear, evenly lit image.

Related Content: Get Ultra-Thin with Tapered Light Guides

Have a frontlit display device or project that you’d like to speak with one of our representatives about? Contact us today!

We bet you have a bright idea.

Let’s see how GLT can help make it a reality.

For even more information about GLT, view our company presentation at the link below.