How to Make a See-Through Transparent Web Dashboard

Initial State
Sep 12 · 2 min read

When I first got my iPhone. I developed a crowd-pleasing party trick to make the screen look transparent. Take a picture of your hand, make that your lock screen background, and ask people if they have “seen the new transparent iPhone screen?” Trust me, it was a big hit with the ladies. I was so proud of my hilarious hack, I considered making it into an app. Keep in mind, at the time, savvy developers were pooting out fart apps popular enough to break wind daily in a private jet.

When Initial State started allowing custom backgrounds, it was only fitting for me, the expert in fake transparency, to make the world’s first transparent-screen real-time web dashboard. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Decide where you want your dashboard to live — like physically in the world.
  2. Take a picture of that spot without the computer from the vantage point of the viewer.
  3. Get that pic uploaded to the Initial State service.
  4. In Tiles, make that pic your background, and create whatever beautiful data dashboard on top.
  5. Place the computer, tablet, phone, TV, or whatever viewing device, back in scene — at the perfect spot where the background lines up.
  6. Basque in glory, reap many rewards, and face the ire of jealous co-workers pining for even a sliver of your newfound well-earned spotlight.
  7. Do I smell a raise?

My version of this see-through physics-defying marvel uses the Initial State DarkSky tutorial to fetch Nasvhille weather data. Using our office view of Nashville as the background (Go Preds!), I situated my new dash on the window sill over looking the city from the same vantage point. Like moons aligning, you can find the perfect viewing spot and enjoy impossible transparency long before Apple actually makes such a screen.

P.S. Apple, if you are reading this, you’ll likely owe me royalties when you finally do catch up with this bleeding edge technology. Let me know. — Rick

The Payoff!

Initial State

Initial State

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Initial State is a data streaming and visualization company.

Initial State

IoT Dashboards for Real-Time Data

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