Transparent wood just got even better, moving us a step closer to windows that are far better insulators than traditional glass ones. The standard process for making wood transparent typically involves soaking the wood in a vat of sodium chlorite – a chemical compound used in some bleaches and toothpastes – to remove a structural component of the wood called lignin. However, this takes a lot of chemicals, produces liquid waste that is tough to recycle and can weaken the wood. Liangbing Hu at the University of Maryland and his colleagues came up with a method that modifies the lignin instead of removing it completely. It is quicker and uses fewer materials than the standard lignin-removal process, and also leaves the wood stronger.
LG is bringing transparent OLED displays to subways in Beijing and Shenzhen. The 55-inch, see-through displays show real-time info about subway schedules, locations and transfers on train windows. They also provide info on flights, weather and the news. Riders will see the tech first on Line 6 in Beijing and Line 10 in Shenzhen. LG plans to expand the OLED displays to other subway lines, which will require working with railroad companies and train glass manufacturers. Transparent displays have long been a concept shown off at trade shows.
Your office windows could soon be replaced with solar panels, as scientists have found an easy way to turn the green technology transparent. The trick is to punch tiny holes in them that are so close together that we see them as clear. See-through solar panels will be crucial to increasing the uptake of solar power in cities, says Kwanyong Seo at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea. This is because roof space remains relatively fixed, whereas window space is growing as buildings get taller. "If we apply transparent solar cells on windows of buildings, they can generate huge amounts of electric power every day," says Seo.
A new patent filed by Apple suggests the company is still toying with the idea of a a folding phone. What makes this particular patent interesting beyond the fact that one of the biggest smart phone purveyors in the world may potentially enter into the folding phone market, is its unique form factor. The patent outlines a device with a hinge that is slightly offset, meaning when folded, the phone would leave a sliver of space at the bottom of the display that would be uncovered by its top portion. This uncovered portion could be used to display notifications or potentially as a type of shortcut menu fro frequently used apps according to the patent. 'Protruding display portion (sometimes referred to as an uncovered display region, protruding display region, uncoverable display region, exposed display edge, uncovered persistently exposed display area, etc.) may be used to display any suitable content,' reads the patent.