Schott North America Inc., a subsidiary of Germany’s Schott AG, is aiming to reduce the glaring scattered-light effect of light-emitting diode (LED) displays with its new floating display technology.

Specifically, the new technology uses thin glass fibers (0.001 in. [0.025 mm]) infused in a special faceplate to make LED images appear as if they are floating above the actual glass cover.

Simple plastic covers shield most current displays, such as instrument panels and navigations systems, the company says, making diffused scattered light and glare a serious issue for motorists driving in bright sunlight. The effect essentially washes out the image, rendering the display unreadable.

This scattered light effect also excessively illuminates the interior of the vehicle at night, making it hard to see the road ahead clearly.

“Companies will be able to use Schott’s floating display technology to produce displays that are more functional, more attractive and more stylish (than existing units),” Burkhard Danielzik, general manager-Business Development for Fiber Optics, says.

And improve safety, as well. The technology, recently introduced to the North American market, allows only the text and images on a display to be illuminated, making for fewer distractions and allowing drivers to concentrate more readily on operating the vehicle.

Schott currently does not have any contracts for the floating display, but sees automotive infotainment screens and handheld personal electronic devices, such as portable global positioning systems and cellular phones, as benefiting the most from the technology.

“When people see this (technology) for the first time, they are absolutely amazed,” Burkhard says, noting the floating display offers a higher-quality appearance due to its improved brilliance and contrast.