Exploited display bug lets LCDs show two images simultaneously

Dual View uses a software algorithm to turn an annoyance into a feature

Researchers have turned a display annoyance into a way to show two different images simultaneously. When an LCD is tilted, colors change and become difficult to see, but with Dual View from Microsoft Research Asia different images and video can be shown.

"We're actually exploiting this property by using a special algorithm to render the image in a special way so that we can hide or show different images at different angles," said Xiang Cao, a researcher with Microsoft Research Asia. "Basically making a bug into a feature."

To see the Dual View display watch a video on YouTube.

In one example, Xiang held a laptop tablet screen, which displayed a game of cards, horizontally. On one side of the screen, a player could see his own cards, but not his opponents'; the other side showed only the opponents' cards.

It's not perfect, because it's limited to the optical properties of the display.

"You may lose a little bit of contrast or saturation and there are certain angles that work better than others," Xiang said.

There are a variety of uses for the technology, from privacy to gaming to even potential 3D applications. There are no immediate plans for commercialization.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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