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These microLED monitors can stack together like Legos

Diagrams showing different modular monitor configurations.
Willow Roberts / HP

HP researchers have published a paper detailing a new modular monitor design they call “composable microLED monitors.” Using advancing microLED tech to make smaller screens with no bezels, they imagine a Lego-like system that allows customers to buy different monitor modules and slot them together at home.

In the paper, diagrams show “core units” with a direct connection to the host computer being expanded both horizontally and vertically with multiple extensions. The idea is that by choosing from flat or curved extension pieces and connecting them to the core unit, you can make a monitor in whatever size or shape you want.

To keep assembly simple and effective, the design uses jigsaw-like connections alongside magnets to ensure each module automatically aligns correctly. And to prevent the number of possible configurations from getting out of hand, the design only allows extensions to attach to the sides or bottom of the square-shaped core unit.

Once your strangely shaped monitor is complete, you would be able to choose how your operating system treats each part — either as an extension of the core unit or as a separate screen. These settings would be controlled with physical switches on the modules that you could change whenever you wanted.

As for the sizes of the modules, HP proposes a range of different possibilities, some more complicated than others. In an ideal situation, customers would be able to choose from either flat or curved core units and add flat or curved extensions of varying sizes. If that proved too difficult, curved monitor elements could be taken out of the picture completely, and customers would just add flat extensions to a flat core unit.

As cool as this all sounds, there is a glaring problem — how would the seams between each module look? Thanks to the bezel-less design, there at least wouldn’t be a thick black divider between each part. However, a thin line or visible distortion would be inevitable. One approach HP proposes is minimizing the gap between each panel as much as possible and just accepting the thin line it creates.

Alternatives include complicated techniques to disguise the joints using hardware or software solutions that modify the display of edge pixels to minimize visual joints. HP would have to find a balance between technical viability, cost, and customer feedback to determine the best overall solution.

Samsung teased a concept display like this earlier this year called The Link, which was another way of stacking monitors together and connecting then wirelessly via POGO pins. While this hasn’t come out yet, clearly it’s an idea companies are playing around with.

The Link monitors connected on a table.
Samsung

For HP, this is all simply a concept — we have no idea whether these ideas will transition into something we can actually buy or not. But with all the crazy multi-monitor setups people create these days, there would definitely be an audience for this kind of product if HP can pull it off.

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Willow Roberts
Willow Roberts is a contributor at Digital Trends, specialising in computing topics. She has a particular interest in Apple…
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