Toshiba demonstrated a prototype liquid crystal display (LCD) panel with a built-in scanner at the Electronic Display Expo in Tokyo.
This means that you could transfer your favourite photo onto the screen of your computer or cell phone by holding the image up to the screen, pressing a button and waiting a few seconds for the image to appear on screen.
To make the display, engineers at Toshiba began with a 3.5in polysilicon thin film transistor LCD and added image sensors among the display pixels.
The display has a resolution of 320 pixels by 240 pixels and the scanner has a resolution of 960 pixels by 240 pixels, which means it can reproduce images of anything laid flat on its surface, in actual size.
Demonstrations at the Tokyo show involved business cards and photographs, and it took about 7 seconds for a scan to be completed.
"We call it an input display," said Motoshi Maruno, a specialist in silicon-on-glass technology at Toshiba Matsushita Display and a developer behind the technology. "You can use it as an ordinary display, and you can use it just like a scanner."
Work remains to be done before the technology reaches the commercial stage, said Maruno. The prototype screen displays 260,000 colours, but the scanner function can only manage monochrome images. A colour scanner function is among the targets of future development work.