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Kirameki: The display screen that could reshape advertising and retail

Instead of conventional display systems that allow you to only see light reflection from a single point, the tech reflects light from multiple angles, allowing viewers to see different perspectives of the image as they move around.

E-commerce is booming. Per a report by McKinsey, “e-commerce sales penetration in the United States more than doubled to 35 percent in 2020 from the previous year, roughly the equivalent of ten years of growth.” Since the pandemic, the industry has grown year on year, with Emarketer reporting the global e-commerce market will exceed $6 trillion this year.

The industry could get yet another boost, thanks to a new innovation by telecoms giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT). At Upgrade 2024, NTT’s annual global research and innovation summit in San Francisco, the company unveiled some really impressive technologies—from the next generation of P5G to IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network), its large language model tsuzumi, and conversations around how to safely adopt AI. 

However, of all these technologies, there was a display that stood out: Kirameki, an ultra high-definition light field display designed to represent the real texture of materials, could usher in the next wave of retail.

This isn’t the first time an emerging tech is poised to change the status quo of e-commerce and retail. On one hand, AI is driving personalization and tailored recommendations for shopping experiences and on the other is augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) bridging the gap between reality and approximate reality. 

But Kirameki, which is a joint project between NTT’s Advanced Technology Corp and Nippon Innolux, stands out because of its unique focus on texture representation and visual realism. Although the product isn’t fully commercial as of the time of writing, there are plans to take the show from lab to market within two to three years. In the meantime, the team is eyeing proof-of-concept trials with potential customers as a key milestone within the next year.


Quite suitably, Kirameki—whose name translates to glitter, sparkle, and other words that denote bright light in Japanese—is built on light field display (LFD) technology to ‘satisfy all visual perception of human [beings].”

Instead of conventional display systems that allow you to only see light reflection from a single point, LFD tech reflects light from multiple angles. This allows the viewer to see different perspectives of the image as they move around, making it look three-dimensional and very realistic. Because light is projected in many different directions and carries just as much color and intensity data, viewers can see slightly different images of the same item depending on which angle they look from. It almost feels like you can touch the object coming out of the screen. 

Kirameki is also specialized for texture representation. Whether it’s the smoothness of silk, the glossiness of glass, or the grainy texture of concrete, the display mimics how light interacts with surfaces to provide a highly realistic representation of material texture.

Currently, the display uses IPS LCD (in-plane switching for liquid-crystal displays) technology, known for its precise color representation and wider viewing angles. It is also built with high angular resolution (between 31-256 views) and an output resolution around full HD, thus guaranteeing multiview perspectives with visual quality as good as the UltraHD TV in your living room.

But what does this really mean for the average consumer?


“This display will contribute to the business field where the texture plays an important role in the outlook of the products. For example, art, craftwork, jewelry, luxury brand goods, mouth-watering foods,” Tadashi Sakamoto, senior manager at the U.S. arm of NTT’s Advanced Technology Corporation, tells Fast Company.

“In addition to the advertisement of luxury brand goods such as jewelry, clothes, bags, shoes etc., this display will be used for the field where the texture will increase the value of the contents, such as virtual viewing of art, 3D video, preview of newly developed industrial products.”

Although the Kirameki screen is only now available in 17.3 inch to 28 inch sizes, which are perfect displays in homes, offices, and even public spaces, online shoppers who shop on their computers or smartphones could also get a piece of this cake.

“In principle, it’s possible for this display to be used for computers or smartphones. And we are so glad if we can expand the use of this display in such a high volume,” Sakamoto says.

Imagine for a second that before buying a new cashmere sweater for work online, you can see if what you’re about to buy for $99.99 is indeed made of genuine cashmere fabric or plain shiny synthetic fiber. And you’re not just seeing it as a product photo on a nice-looking model, but in all its wooly glory, and from every possible perspective.

For e-commerce, that changes everything.

Of the 98% of global consumers that shop online, many would do so comfortably only if there were great product photos of their potential purchase. Still, there are too many cases of people not getting exactly what they ordered, leading to product returns running into billions of dollars for retailers.

With tech like Kirameki letting online shoppers see the textures and details of their potential purchase as if they were physically present, the purchase decision process could be shorter and even more frequent. 

For the regular next-door brick and mortar, the Kirameki display could also be what creates a more engaging shopping experience through promotional displays or visual merchandising.


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