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Toshiba develops LCD filter to foil peeping at screens.

TOKYO, Dec. 12 Kyodo

Toshiba Corp. said Friday it has developed a filter for the liquid crystal displays of personal computers and mobile phones that make the screen visible only to users.

The electronically controlled filter will help ensure privacy as e-mail and documents, for instance, will not be visible to people peeping at the screens from the side, Toshiba said.

The filter can also be used for electronic voting and automated teller machines (ATMs), Toshiba said, noting that many people using ATMs have voiced concern that their personal identification numbers can be seen by others.

The filter, itself a liquid crystal display, aligns pixels to project a reticulate pattern toward anyone peeping at a screen from the side, Toshiba said.

The direction of the molecules inside the filter -- attached to the surface of a conventional liquid crystal display (LCD) -- can be adjusted by changing the voltage in a small circuit inside a display controller.

Depending on the arrangement of their pixels, LCDs turn either darker or brighter when viewed from an angle.

Toshiba has taken advantage of this characteristic of the LCDs by arranging the directions of pixels alternately -- both vertically and horizontally -- as in checkered flags, it said.

Conventional technologies for blocking viewing from the side have involved pasting filters on LCDs. But these filters have also affected head-on viewing.

Toshiba's new filter technology allows a user to choose between blocking and allowing the viewing of images on LCDs by other people.

''Even when you are moving in a train, you would be able to read and compose e-mails without needing to worry about others peeing into your'' mobile phones or mobile personal computers, a Toshiba official said.

Toshiba plans to ship electronics products equipped with the new filter in the latter half of fiscal 2004, it added.
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Comment:Toshiba develops LCD filter to foil peeping at screens.
Publication:Japan Computer Industry Scan
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Dec 15, 2003
Words:300
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