• Oct 13, 2006
Another crossblog from Engadget, we have an announcement of Sharp developing a 1500:1 contrast ratio LCD panel that will work as a dashboard in upcoming vehicles. Sure, you might be saying, but Mercedes already has a small LCD panel in its S-Class. True, but this is taking things about ten steps further. In fact, it just might make that $5 million heads-up display offer a moot point. The 8-inch panel features an 800 x 480 resolution and can display not only the usual speedometer, tachometer, and idiot lights, but can also show navigational maps and backup cameras images. And did we mention that the 1500:1 contrast ratio is three times better than any competitor?

The biggest challenge for this new Sharp panel is that car interiors are much harsher on electronics than a living room. Having to cope with more extreme vibration and heat fluctuations than indoor equipment, the whole LCD was revamped and adapted for road use. No mention of who might be in line to install these in their vehicles just yet, but there will surely be interest with the growing technology needs of drivers combined with a relatively fixed amount of dash space available in cars.

[Source: Sharp via Engadget]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Call me old fashion but I always keep the same line of thought with cars and electronics.... the more you put in... the more stuff can break on those cold -40degrees winter nights....
      • 8 Years Ago
      re: (4) Making a good GUI is hard. The temptation to put in more features than are actually warranted is very high because of the added cost of the display.

      (7) LCDs are made of glass and don't work well at high or low temperature extremes. Since this is a safety-critical display, you have to make it work across the operating conditions the vehicle will encounter in service. Doing this for an acceptable cost is difficult, but not impossible.

      (10) There's only so much panel space available that is in the direct view of the driver. If you can get an LCD display that will suffice, it will be more reliable, and far more flexible than electromechanical gauges, allowing for much greater customization (skins anyone?) and functionality (e.g. backup and FLIR displays).
      • 8 Years Ago
      As a wise man once said:

      "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think this is a good idea. If history is any guide, the European car manufacturers are likely to try it first, with the Japanese following once the bugs are cleared out (although Sharp's involvement might reverse that). A lot of cars already have informational displays (outside temp, miles to fill-up, etc.), so why not put everything on a display with virtual gauges. If done properly (a big if), it could actually make gauges easier to read (less clutter on the dash) and more effective.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've personally never been a big fan of electronic gauges like these. I had something similar in a Ford Probe I owned as a teen and it never excited me like a real set of gauges. I want to drive a car, not the stealth bomber.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Now if only some company would manage to pull a good GUI outta their ass for this thing... I just dont get it; generally speaking, the hardware (any hardware - cars, phones, tv's, etc...) itself is very good looking; but the GUI's on them are just simply pathetic; always same old pixelated crap with some default photoshop styles... and as I said, this applies to all - navigations in cars, cell phone interfaces, tv guides and such... I mean I just dont get it; when you're a company and you're making hundreds of millions of dollars of your product, how cheap do you have to be to hire a good designer for a few thousand dollars to make your product a good interface... anyone mind explaining this to me?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mercedes already ships this on cars that have their night vision system.

      Me, I'm against it. These LCDs are even lower contrast than the fluorescent electronic dashes we had in the 80s.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In an airplane this kind of display is called a "glass cockpit". (I worked MD-10 at Honeywell ATS one summer in college.) At first it was done with CRTs but it's been LCDs for a while now. Usually there are two displays side by side with user selectable information on display.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i don't get it.

      why would hardening it for temerature and vibration and temperature be difficult?

      cellphones can hack that kind of abuse with ease!
      • 8 Years Ago
      If I want to play a video game on an LCD screen, I can go buy me a Playstation 2 for a lot less money than a car.

      If I spend the money to buy a real car, I want my dash board and gauges to be real, not virtual pixels!
      • 8 Years Ago
      My first reaction was, yuck, why bother, but I'd actually be interested in seeing such a setup in person. Never hurts to try something new.

      If nothing else, how about a small LCD panel on your dash somewhere that would only display one "gauge" at a time. You could cycle through various settings to see oil temp, pressure, boost (if, like me, you have a turbo), etc, etc. That might be useful and even a little fun.

      But, I'm easily amused.

      • 8 Years Ago
      How long till people hack this for movie playing and video gaming? (Already illegal to do with indash systems)