Centuries after William of Ockham first uttered the wisdom that the simplest answer is usually the right one, it still holds true for even the most modern of problem-solving exercises. The geeks at LG are apparently well-versed in the truth of that saying judging by one of the latest patents to have come out of its display business.
Conventional screens like the one through which you’re viewing this article present a fairly straightforward use scenario for manufacturers to address, operating mainly in moderate temperature environments beyond the reach of the elements. The problem starts when the hardware moves outdoors, and multiplies severalfold for the supersized electronic signs decorating major metropolitan destinations.
It can get pretty hot inside the chassis of a digital billboard in the summer, and sensitive silicon componentry doesn’t react particularly well to heat, especially when it’s running around the clock. So LG has designed and requested to patent a high-tech internal airflow system to relieve that temperature.
In other words, a fancy fan. The main different from the kind that keeps your computer cool is a nifty combination of rotating partitions designed to get cold air to where it’s needed most without requiring the rotor to do more work, thereby saving power and increasing the lifespan of the hardware. In bigger signs where even that wouldn’t span the full length of the chassis, LG’s patent specifies adding another fan on the other side.
As the illustration above shows, the fans themselves can also rotate to further optimize the airflow. More moving part does mean a higher chance of something breaking, but the potentially increased repair costs are more than offset by the energy savings that the system can provide come summer.