Earlier this quarter the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Google revealing an invention regarding a privacy display for mobile devices. The invention involves two displays, one for public viewing and one for private viewing when you need to check out banking or other sensitive documents. While it's an interesting invention, they're not alone in trying to achieve display privacy on a mobile device. Apple filed for a patent for the same type of invention back in the spring of 2011 wherein a series of mirror-like structures could control the directions of the display's light beams.
Google's Patent Background
Privacy filters have been used on viewing screens for protecting sensitive information. Specifically, a privacy filter is used to darken side viewing of the display to prevent others from reading information displayed. Privacy filters, however, are often bulky and cumbersome such that they are not incorporated on mobile devices. Further, in some instances, it may be desirable to protect or hide sensitive information that is displayed on only portions of the viewable screen.
Google Invents Privacy Display for Mobile Devices
Google's invention relates to a display device can include a housing, a processor, and a display assembly. The processor can be arranged within the housing. The display assembly can be operably coupled to the processor and arranged within the housing.
The display assembly can include a first display, a privacy filter, and a second display. The first and second displays can comprise first and second LCD's, respectively. The first LCD can output a first portion of the display assembly. The second LCD can output a second portion of the display assembly. The privacy filter and the first and second LCD's can be arranged such that the first portion of the display assembly is filtered by the privacy filter to be viewable in a first viewable arc. The second portion of the display assembly can be viewable in a second viewable arc that is different than the first viewable arc.
In one example, the display device may be incorporated on a mobile computing device such as a tablet, laptop or mobile phone as noted below in patent FIG. 1.
In patent FIG. 2 noted above, we're able to a sectional view of the mobile device of FIG. 1 illustrating a user viewing the display through a first viewable arc and a pair of bystanders viewing the display through a second viewable arc.
The display assembly is noted in the patent figures as #20 and generally incorporates a first or private display (#32 purple), a privacy filter (#34 blue), a one-way mirror (#36 yellow), and a second or public display (#38 pink).
Google states that the display assembly may be configured to display some information on the public display and other information on the private display. The display assembly is configured to only allow the information displayed on the private display to be viewable through a first viewable arc by the user.
Other information displayed on the public display may be viewable through a second viewable arc such as by bystanders as noted as #52 and 54 in patent FIG. 2. In this way, the display assembly of the smartphone may be configured to display sensitive information such as bank account numbers, passwords and the like on the private display such that the information may only be viewable by the user through the first viewable arc.
In Google's patent FIG. 5 we see that the resulting view is of a viewable arc outside of the first viewable arc means that the account number is outside the privacy arc and not seen by the public.
Google's patent FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of a technique for using the privacy display according to this patent application.
Google originally filed their patent application back in Q1 2013 and the US Patent Office published it earlier this quarter. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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