World’s thinnest screen is made from a soap bubble [video]

soap bubble screen

It’s fascinating to know what technology and its creators are capable of developing. The latest innovation in screen design comes from Tokyo, where University of Tokyo researchers Yoichi Ochiai, Alexis Oyama and Keisuke Toyoshima have developed what is arguably the world’s thinnest screen, made simply from a soap bubble.

Projecting an image onto soap isn’t as easy as it may sound. Typically light passes through a soap bubble in its unaltered form. To work around this problem, the researchers subjected the bubble’s membrane to ultrasonic sound waves, played through speakers. Sonic waves break up the surface tension, creating a texture to the bubble that becomes opaque, while reflecting enough light to project a vivid image for viewers.

To keep the bubble from popping, a colloidal mix made up of sugar, glycerin, soap, surfactant, water, and milk, enables the surface tension to be strong yet malleable. You can pass your fingers through the bubble without popping the mixture.

Because the bubble’s texture can be altered depending on the frequency of the waves, researchers can change the surface texture to be rough or smooth at will. For example, an image of a ball projected onto the bubble could be customized with the guise of a rough or smooth ball.

Changing the frequency (the type of wave) emitted by the speakers will also alter the reflective property of the screen, which is a characteristic that cannot be changed at will on modern day screens. By affecting the intensity of the reflection, the transparency of the projected image then can be changed at will, similar to what you’d see when changing the transparency of an image in Photoshop.

A second feature to a single-screen projection is the ability for the researchers to project moving images. For example, the video below will exemplify an image of Earth rotating on its axis.

By adding multiple screens however, a three dimensional image can be projected by modifying the frequency of each screen, which affects the transparency of each bubble. A single projector will then transmit alternate images onto each screen, which together creates a holographic effect.

While the goal of this project, according to the researchers, is to recreate the visual mimicry of materials, including grass and stone, at the spur of the moment, this patent-pending project is also an experiment that accomplishes what modern day screens cannot. There is a malleability and customization to the screen that is unparalleled when comparing it to traditional screens.

Gaming

New ‘Battlefield V’ patch gives Nvidia’s ray tracing support a chance to shine

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…