Discussing circular displays: Anders’ Mike Logan

July 01, 2019 //By Julien Happich
circular displays
In this bullet-point article, Anders’ display and input technology manager and specialist Mike Logan reviews basic facts about circular displays and how those have come to seduce an increasing number of designers.

What is a circular display?
Circular displays are quite simply a varying shape/form factor that we have added to our solutions portfolio to give our Anders customers choice and help differentiate their product design. In the past, by far the most cost-effective way to achieve the appearance of a circular display was using a rectangular display with a circular bezel placed over the top. This solution worked, but as demand grew and grew for a true circular edge to edge display, the market catered for this need by manufacturing the circular display directly.
Our circular displays are manufactured using the exact same design and engineering techniques that we have coined for our more standard rectangular displays and offer the same level of high-end specification and product configuration.  It’s quite simply, a shape shift.
 
Why would someone select a circular display?
We are kind of going around in circles in product design, but the shape has obviously always existed. Let’s look at the automotive industry over the past 60 years. The Morris Mini Cooper with its iconic circular designed headlights and dials was first introduced in 1959 and reintroduced to the market in the early 2000s along with the re-invented Fiat 500.  The driving factor behind this was our generations thirst for retro design.  That nostalgic desire still exists today and at the heart of that, within these vehicles is the dashboard and those iconic circular gauges and dials.    The Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), the brand names, the logos, are all aware of this, so it was only a matter of time before we took the natural leap from mechanical circular dials into digital circular displays with touch and interactive technology.

So, where will we see circular displays?
At Anders we are seeing strong demand from the automotive industry for the reasons aforementioned.  They are switching out their manual, or mechanical buttons and knobs to future-proof their brand as we move toward towards the dashboard of the future.  This will be entirely interactive, sleek, and stylish. In the same vein, motorbike manufacturers are demanding circular displays,  to replace the classic instrument cluster on a motorbike which has generally been circular in design. 
 
Designers are looking to replace these mechanical gauges with circular TFT displays that are not only impressive, but also robust.  These displays don’t have the benefit of being kept safe, dry, and warm, enclosed within a car surround, therefore when we are asked to consult on this type of project, we need to take into account temperatures, from the extreme cold to the extreme heat, rainwater, and readability in direct sunlight.


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