Kia GT Concept: Triple Layer Transparent OLED 3D Display

Kia introduced its GT Concept four door sports saloon during the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. Instead of using spectacular LCDs in the instrument cluster Kia took a few steps beyond. The Mercedes Benz S-Class and the Lexus LFA both use LCDs to replace the dials in the instrument cluster. And Lexus had no choice: the V10 engine revved so quickly an analog dial couldn’t keep up.

Maybe Kia had no other choice either in the quest to build a 3D instrument cluster. By layering three transparent OLED displays the dash in the GT Concept exhibits a 3D-like experience. On a related note, Apple submitted a patent for a 3D display system using multiple transparent OLED displays. Take a look at a video of the triple layered transparent OLED instrument panel inside the Kia GT Concept.

The second and third transparent OLED displays give depth to the speedometer, tachometer, and other dials. The overall effect is fantastic, but I have to ask the enthusiasm dampening hard questions: How long is that OLED going to last? Unless your Kia is completely blacked out, those OLEDs will need to be driven pretty hard to emit the level of brightness that can overcome what can be an unforgivingly bright environment. OLEDs are also sensitive to temperature and cars can get really hot; so how well will it perform in steamy environments? My guess is it seems we’ll be waiting a while for 3D transparent OLED instrument clusters in our cars because OLEDs that are driven hard in hot environments will die out rapidly.