Emerging Technologies

A Collaborative See-Through Display Supporting On-Demand Privacy

For office workers who spend a majority of their time in front of computer screens, the screens become constant visual and communication barriers. Even workers sitting on opposite sides of a table have to make an effort to communicate, by either standing up or walking around the table to see each other. Transparent screens can solve this problem by offering the unique ability to see screen content as well as the environment behind the screen. However, if users and their screen content are always visible to others, issues of personal and information privacy arise, and visual interference between screen content and the environment behind the screen may degrade users’ performance.

This demonstration combines two transparent screens with a transparency-controlled backlight. The backlight, a piece of light-guiding acrylic with edge-mounted LEDs, is opaque when turned on and transparent when off. This allows users to change the transparency of their screens on-demand and continuously, so they can control privacy and potential visual interference. Users can share content instantaneously and at the same time maintain eye contact with collaboration partners by using simple hand gestures to interact with the system.

  Download Video

David Lindlbauer
Technical University Berlin

Toru Aoki
Keio University

Anita Höchtl
University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

Yuji Uema
Keio University

Michael Haller
University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

Masahiko Inami
Keio University

Jörg Müller
Technical University Berlin, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society