Display Industry Technology News Roundup 3.17.2015
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Display Alliance in 3D, AUO, Capacitive touch, Digital signage, Heads up display, Holograph, Japan, LCD, LED, News Roundup, Sharp, Touchscreen, Virtual Reality

Image via Saarland University

DIY printing custom touch-sensitive displays "Computer scientists from Germany's Saarland University have developed a technique that could allow anyone to literally print their own custom displays, including touchscreens. Using a regular inkjet printer equipped with a special ink, a DIY thin-film electroluminescence (TFEL) display can simply be printed out from a digital template of the desired size and shape using a program like Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. "So far, nothing like this has been possible," says researcher Simon Olberding. "Displays were produced for the masses, never for one individual user."" via Gizmag

Japan Display confirms new plant "Japan Display Inc said on Friday that it would build a new $1.4 billion liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing plant, which a source said would supply smartphone screens for Apple Inc. The company did not name Apple, in line with its policy of not identifying clients. A person familiar with the matter said Apple would also invest an unspecified amount in the plant, which would further the Japanese screen maker's aim of becoming the primary supplier of high-tech screens for iPhones. ...Japan Display said it aims to start operations at the plant in 2016 and expects the move to increase its LCD capacity by 20 percent. The company, formed in a government-backed deal in 2012 from the ailing display units of Sony Corp, Toshiba Corp and Hitachi Ltd, has led a volatile course since its public offering last year." via Reuters

Sharp Reiterates Commitment to Panel Business ""Our panel business hasn’t worsened to the point where we’re saying it is facing an uphill battle yet, and we are committed to developing more value-added products and to remain an important pillar for the company," Norikazu Hohshi, who heads Sharp’s device business, said at a news conference. The display maker recently slashed its business outlook, saying it would record a net loss of ¥30 billion ($246 million) in the fiscal year ending this month, compared with a previous forecast of a ¥30 billion net profit. The company has struggled as rival Japan Display Inc. has made aggressive sales pitches to Sharp’s main customers in China such as Xiaomi Corp." via The Wall Street Journal

Is VR Union more immersive than Oculus Rift? "VR Union, a two-year old startup based in Prague, has leapfrogged his advances in virtual reality by creating virtual-reality goggles with a display that is triple the resolution of anything else available on the market. ...VR Union also found a way to leverage Fresnel lens technology, originally developed by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel for lighthouses in 1823. The tech allows for a nearly 180-degree field of vision and makes it possible for users to wear prescription glasses inside the headset. In contrast, Oculus uses a conventional heavier aspheric lens, similar to a handheld magnifying glass, that offers a 100-degree field of vision. VR Union says the conventional approach disturbs complete immersion by creating the effect of peering through two short tubes. Dozens of display companies, including Sony and Samsung, are vying to become the global standard for VR goggles before they become a mainstream device." via Fortune

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Are real-time holographic displays one step closer to reality? "Real-time dynamic holographic displays, long the realm of science fiction, could be one step closer to reality, after researchers from the Univ. of Cambridge developed a new type of pixel element that enables far greater control over displays at the level of individual pixels. The results are published in Physica Status Solidi. ...“In a typical liquid crystal on silicon display, the pixels’ electronics, or backplane, provides little optical functionality other than reflecting light,” said Calum Williams, a PhD student at Cambridge’s Dept. of Engineering and the paper’s lead author. “This means that a large amount of surface area is being underutilised, which could be used to store information.” Williams and his colleagues have achieved a much greater level of control over holograms through plasmonics: the study of how light interacts with metals on the nanoscale, which allows the researchers to go beyond the capability of conventional optical technologies." via R&D Mag

Sharp's sensitive 70-inch LCD responds to brushstrokes "The capacitive touch panel screens, shown off Tuesday in Tokyo, provide an experience that's closer than ever to working with pen and paper, even with large screens. Technology in the prototypes could be used in a range of applications from sketching to calligraphy to writing memos on mobile devices. ...Capacitive stylus brushes and touchscreens that respond to pencil have been commercialized already, but Sharp says its displays are more sensitive and work with large formats. When screens are larger, noise from the display reduces the sensitivity of the touch panel. Sharp was able to keep the noise in check by using a parallel drive sensing method, which drives the processes of multiple touch sensors at the same time." via CIO

How do LED displays work? These amazing GIFs show exactly how "Designer Jacob O'Neal of Animagraffs.com has created a series of beautiful animations that show just how all these pixels and crystals combine to display the words and pictures we see." via Business Insider

Prototype of Retina Imaging Laser Eyewear for Low-Vision Care "QD Laser, Inc. and the Institute for Nano Quantum Information Electronics at the University of Tokyo announced the prototype of the retina imaging laser eyewear for low vision care. ...The laser eyewear has a miniature laser projector on the glasses frame that provides the wearer with digital image information using the retina as a screen. Remarkable characteristics, not achieved by other devices using liquid crystal displays (LCDs), are as follows: 1. Wide viewing with a small device owing to the projection principle. 2. High brightness, high color reproducibility and energy reduction owing to semiconductor lasers as RGB light sources. 3. Image viewing at any position of the retina. 4. Focus free - meaning picture clarity is independent of the individual’s visual power. 5. All optics to be installed inside the glasses owing to the “focus free” characteristics. The glasses appear to be normal." via Novus Light

Korean researchers develop microencapsulation technology for displays "A team of experts at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed technology that they say will help viewers see images three-dimensionally. "We use molecular engineering to create rubber covered microcapsules that can move around in liquid and change shape and color, making displayed images look three dimensional." They say their technology, which microcapsules phototonic crystals, can be used for next generation reflective-type color displays that can bend or fold. What's more, these microcapsules have characteristics that allows them to change colors based on varying temperatures, which would result in a more brilliant display panel." via Arirang

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How does Kyocera's smartphone display prototype soak up solar power? "This week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Kyocera is showing off a concept phone that uses its own display to convert the sun's rays into juice for its battery. While we've previously seen devices that harness the sun's rays via solar cells mounted on the chassis, Kyocera's prototype employs a transparent photovoltaic layer that can be placed on top of or beneath the touchscreen. The specific technology on display this week comes from a company named Sunpartner, which makes a power-generating display layer called the Wysips (What you see is photovoltaic surface) Crystal connected to a chip that manages and converts solar energy into power that can be stored in the device's battery. Sunpartner says Wysips is capable of delivering up to 5 milliWatt-peak/cm2, a figure the company expects to soon double thanks to next-generation photovoltaic materials. The layer is only 0.1 mm thick, making it easy to add to a device without impacting the aesthetic design. The company also claims that it will not impact the the display's touch capabilities. (Video)" via Gizmag

AMD's LiquidVR Technology Signals New Battleground For The GPU Wars "The holy grail of virtual reality is a concept known as presence. For a user to feel fully immersed in a virtual environment, the time between the user moving their head or hands and seeing that action reflected in the virtual space (defined technically as "motion-to-photon latency") needs to be minimal, or preferably non-existent. Reducing that latency involves a lot of moving parts, from the software to the GPU to the display technology inside of a VR headset. That’s the battleground, and it’s what AMD hopes to improve with LiquidVR. The company says it intends to bring "smooth, liquid-like motion and responsiveness to developers and content creators for life-like presence in VR environments powered by AMD hardware." AMD released the Alpha version of their LiquidVR SDK (software development kit) to developers today." via Forbes

ITO Recycling: A Green Ecosystem for Multi-Screen Era "One person having multiple devices is already an unshakeable trend. Moreover, manufacturing more display screens means ITO material consumption. Consequently, finding ways to create environmentally friendly recovery mechanisms for display materials in the multi-screen era will be an important link for the industry’s sustainable development. Environmental ITO recycling technology is beginning this solution mechanism. ...Currently there are two major sources of Indium tin oxide recycling. The first is ITO glass (such as displays, touch panels, and solar batteries). The second is ITO target materials. The former requires first breaking the materials into pieces, and then a chemical solution is used to filter out impurities and refine Indium tin. Afterwards, from the cladding material equipment, stripping and refinement can be carried out by directly soaking it in a solution." via CTimes

How will digital signage benefit from new reading speed technology? "Reading a text is something that each of us does at our own individual pace. This simple fact has been exploited by computer scientists in Saarbrücken who have developed a software system that recognizes how fast a text on a display screen is being read and then allows the text to scroll forward line by line at the right speed. The technology makes use of commercially available eye-tracking glasses, which are able to capture the motion of the user's eyes and convert this into a reading speed. Potential future areas of applications include electronic books or the large-scale displays used in railway stations and shopping centres. The research team will be showcasing its project from March 16th to March 20th at the Cebit computer expo in Hanover." via Phys.org

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Retina MacBook Pro Users Complain of Anti-Reflective Display Coating Wearing Off "A growing number of users have turned to the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors discussion forums and Facebook in recent weeks to voice their complaints about the anti-reflective coating on Retina MacBook Pros becoming stained or wearing off. The long-standing display issue appears to affect several MacBook Pros, including mid-2012 to mid-2014 models sold between June 2012 and present. The anti-reflective coating appears to be wearing off under a variety of circumstances, including the pressure of the keys and trackpad on the display when closed, and the use of third-party cleaning solutions and microfiber cloths. While the issue is typically isolated to small areas of the screen, some users have shared pictures showing the anti-reflective coating wearing off across virtually the entire display." via MacRumors

Researchers create glasses-free 3D display with tiny spherical lenses "The most successful foray into the realm of 3D technology is probably the Nintendo 3DS, which has sold quite well by the standards of handheld game consoles. Part of that is effective use of 3D in games, but more importantly, you don’t need glasses to experience a 3D effect. Glasses-free 3D comes with drawbacks, but a team of researchers from Chengdu, China might have figured out how to make this type of 3D viable using spherical lenses in the display. ...Most people can tolerate a narrow viewing angle with a handheld device. But with anything larger, it’s far too inconvenient. The spherical lens display design featured in the new paper has the potential to boost the viewing angle of an autostereoscopic screen dramatically. The proof-of-concept display created by the researchers works at 32 degrees, with a theoretical viewing angle of up to 90 degrees. Additionally, microsphere-lens (MSL) arrays can be produced inexpensively using ball placement technology." via ExtremeTech

UniPixel Touchscreen Film Near Manufacturing "Texas-based UniPixel and its joint venture with Eastman Kodak Co. has been plagued with delays as it works on the underlying technology, which would use a similar process Kodak traditionally used to make film. The two companies announced in 2013 the joint venture that was expected at that time to turn out touchscreen sensor film by the end of that year from its Eastman Business Park plant. Now, nearly two years after that initial announcement, UniPixel CEO Jeff Hawthorne said the company expects initial commercial shipments in the second quarter of 2015." via Democrat & Chronicle

Qualcomm’s fingerprint tech turns touchscreen into Touch ID "The company has announced Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint Technology at MWC 2015, a long name for what's shaping up to be a potentially big improvement in security ergonomics. Rather than a capacitive sensor, as used in Apple's Touch ID and on the new Samsung Galaxy S6, Qualcomm's approach uses ultrasonics so that it can sense through a variety of materials. ...That would mean pressing your finger against the display itself could be used to authenticate access, allowing for slimmer and more compact devices overall. Qualcomm says the sensor can see through sweat, grease, and hand-lotion, and other substances which would confuse a regular biometric scanner. Interestingly, an Apple patent suggesting just that sort of approach, embedding Touch ID into the touchscreen rather than in the home button, was spotted back in February." via SlashGear

AUO pushing 5 major selling points for panels "For 2015, AU Optronics (AUO) is pushing five major selling points for its panels to boost product demand. The points are Ultra HD resolution - AUO will upgrade all sizes of its panels to support Ultra HD resolution; curved display technology; integrated touch control technology; image improvement technologies such as wide color gamut and ultra-high dynamic contrast; and value-added functions for industrial, enterprise, car-use and wearable applications. The points were outlined from AUO president Paul Peng who added that AUO's aim for 2015 is not to gain market share but rather focus on profitability from high-end, differentiated products that outline AUO's technology advantages in the market." via DigiTimes

Flexible Hybrid Films For Longer Lasting Displays "The paper by polymer scientists Park Soo-Young and Cho A-Ra of Kyungpook National University describes a method to create a type of so-called "hybrid" film, composed of both inorganic and organic materials. A process known as the sol-gel fabrication technique can create hybrid films, but it, too, is less than ideal, because it requires the use of acids that corrode the metals and metal oxides in the devices' electronic components. … The hybrid films showed less depreciation in flexibility after 10,000 bending cycles than the inorganic layered films. Resistance of a material increases because of the formation of minute cracks as it flexes—just as it would when used in a flexible display screen. A film with higher resistance has lower electrical conductivity, meaning that more voltage must be applied to send a signal through it, which further degrades the material." via AsianScientist

NASA Is Developing Wearable Tech Glasses for Astronauts "The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration is working on computerized glasses for astronauts that can guide them through how to repair a latch on their ship or conduct an experiment in space. NASA is teaming up with a San Francisco company called Osterhout Design Group, which makes augmented-reality glasses that project information onto the lenses. The plan is to create a system where how-to guides can be uploaded to the glasses, allowing astronauts to follow directions while their hands are full. NASA's engineering teams are working on integrating their software into the glasses and, later this year, will test them in an undersea lab to simulate the environment of space flight. Eventually, the device will be submitted to NASA's flight program team for its first trip into space." via Bloomberg

Visual science research is needed as displays get "There is an interplay between design, which makes the display attractive and can be for branding, and legibility. As displays get smaller, there is less room for flexibility and the exact balance between design (which is an artistic endeavour), and legibility (which can be measured with visual science) becomes more important. The trouble is, said Reimer, that there is not yet enough visual science to pin down the legibility end of the spectrum: “As displays get smaller, we must think much more cohesively. We need to get much more to the root of visual science to inform decision makers so they can balance design with science.” MIT AgeLab, together with typeface company Monotype Imaging, has developed a method for testing the legibility of typefaces on screens under glance-like conditions – an adapted form of ‘stimulus onset asynchrony’ (SOA) for use on a PC, by automotive manufacturers and human-machine interface designers for example."via Electronics Weekly

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