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Using a Sunlight Readable Display for a User Interface in a Bright Environment

By ·Categories: Tech Explained·Published On: January 6th, 2022·2.2 min read·

Why do you need a sunlight readable display?

Have you ever tried to read something on your phone or tablet outside on a sunny day? You probably quickly learned that the sunlight makes the content on your screen nearly disappear. Even moving to a shady spot doesn’t always help because the bright ambient light still completely washes out the images on the screen.  

Trying to read outside on your phone is a nuisance, but you can usually move inside to a workable spot. This isn’t possible if you have a need to place a user interface in a sunny location. For example, a control PC for an oilhead or an outdoor customer interface like a carwash kiosk need to be easy to read even in direct sunlight. In these scenarios, you need a sunlight readable display. This type of display is specially designed to be viewable in any lighting condition. 

Insight into Screen Design

It helps to understand how an LCD screen works. As defined by Wikipedia, a liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat-panel display that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals combined with polarizers. Liquid crystals do not emit light directly, instead, they use a backlight or reflector to produce images in color or monochrome.

Increase the Brightness

The most common way to make a display readable in sunlight is to increase the strength of the backlight. The brightness of light is measured in a unit called a “Nit”.  A Nit corresponds to the light produced by a single candle per square meter. An average general purpose display has a brightness of 200 – 500 Nits. On the other hand, a sunlight readable display has a brightness around 800 – 1,000 or more Nits. This extra brightness overcomes the sun washing out the display. 

Real World Applications

Sunlight readable displays are highly valuable for any bright location – indoors or out. For example many in-vehicle applications such as in a car, boat, train or crane require a sunlight readable display. Any outdoor user interface, like an outdoor kiosk at an amusement park for example, can also greatly benefit from using a sunlight readable display.

How OnLogic Can Help

Sunlight readable displays allow users to expand the boundaries of their computing capabilities. OnLogic offers several Intel Atom and Core based panel PC options with sunlight readable display capabilities in sizes ranging from 8″ to 24″. Browse OnLogic’s Panel PC selection and our kiosk computer solutions to see which products are right for your outdoor applications. 

Ready to learn more? Contact our tech sales team to make sure your display is perfectly suited for your environment. 

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About the Author: Victoria Scala

Victoria Scala is the Marketing Intern at OnLogic. Along with her business studies at The University of Vermont, she enjoys writing and exploring the Green Mountain State.
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