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Oct162015

Display Technology News Roundup 10.16.2015

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Could You Make Your Own Buttons with a Gel Touchscreen? "Researchers hailing mainly from the Technische Universität Berlin in Germany built a prototype of a touch screen with a layer of gel atop it that can change from soft to stiff when heat is applied—making it possible to create temporary buttons in all kinds of shapes that needn’t be defined in advance, which users can feel and use to interact with the display. Such technology could make it easier to use a range of electronics, from in-car displays to smartphones and wearable gadgets, to do things like receive alerts or input information without needing to glance at the devices themselves. (Video)" via MIT Technology Review

Researchers Create Nanocrystalline Thin-Film Transistor for Next-Generation LCD Screens "If you're reading this story on a screen with a liquid crystal display, thank thin-film transistors. Thin-film transistors function like standard semiconductor transistors, but are deposited on top of a layer of glass. In LCD screens, this allows the transistors to be embedded directly in the screen, which improves image stability. Researchers at Korea University and the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology have now developed a new type of thin film transistor that's significantly faster than its predecessors -- an important step toward speeding up image display on devices like TVs and smartphone screens. The scientists made the transistor from zinc oxynitride, or ZnON, which they then plasma treated with argon gas." via AZoNano

How LCD screen glare could be solved with sunglasses "New sunglasses brand NoonWear, which uses "proprietary implementation of polarization technology," has launched NoonWear Ones, the "sunglasses that help owners of LCD screens, like laptops and tablets, use their devices outdoors." ...“NoonWear sunglasses provide traditional sunglass light protection and UV ray blocking, but they also let you see your laptop,” said Charles Barr, co-founder of NoonWear and an MIT graduate, in a statement. “We want to bring the LCD generation outdoors and let people use their electronic devices while in the sun.”" via Boston Business Journal

Will Foxconn Close Deal to Control Sharp's LCD Business? "Foxconn Technology Group has signed a letter of intent to buy a stake in Sharp Corp.’s liquid-crystal display business in a deal that would give Foxconn management control as the Japanese electronics maker spins off the unit, according to people familiar with the plan. ...Foxconn wants to model this deal on Chairman Terry Gou’s personal investment in Sharp’s Sakai Display operations in 2012, which resulted in the Taiwanese company having management control over the LCD factory, one of the people said. Hon Hai is Foxconn’s largest unit and the world’s biggest maker of iPhones. The company also makes iPads, Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox console, and personal computers for Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. Hon Hai gets about half its revenue from Apple and is seeking to expand beyond assembly to offer components, including displays and semiconductors." via Bloomberg Business

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A low-power reflective display with a wide color gamut "High-resolution reflective displays with motion image capability and a broad color gamut are considered by many to represent the next-generation display technology. Reflective displays dramatically reduce power consumption and allow for the realization of new display applications, such as smart watches and digital textbooks. In recent years, the electrophoretic display (EPD)—in which images are formed by the electronic rearrangement of charged pigment particles—has been widely implemented as a low-power display for e-book applications. The optical diffusion of EPDs is, however, essentially Lambertian, resulting in relatively low reflectivity. Narrow color gamut filters must therefore be used to avoid further reduction in the reflectivity, negatively impacting the display properties. To overcome this issue, we have developed a reflective color liquid crystal display (LCD) using a mirror electrode and a diffusion film that is designed to diffuse light only in its direction of travel. This display system requires that the chromaticity of optical components be suppressed, and establishes a method by which the optical diffusion of reflected light can be controlled. This results in a display with a wide color gamut and high reflectivity, making it optically similar to white paper." via SPIE

Will Lasers Light the Way for Projectors in Digital Signage? "Replacing lamps is a costly endeavor, and translates to steep labor costs when lamps reach their end of life after 1,500 to 4,000 hours of use. And the accumulation of dust typical in projectors that use lamps further accelerates their demise. However, laser phosphor projectors, which emit a more consistent light output over their lifetimes, are changing the game. With lasers as their light sources, these distinctly modern projectors offer up to 20,000 hours of projector life at maximum brightness. Lamp-less projectors also offer flexibility that is a major benefit in an environment that experiences heavy foot traffic on a daily basis. They have given users more placement options for display signage installations, for example. With their robust durability and convenient flexibility, laser phosphor projectors are positioned to shine a bright light on digital signage in the transportation industry." via Mass Transit Magazine

Japan Display plans R&D hub in China "Japan Display plans to open a smartphone panel development site this year in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, employing about 100 people. In addition to sending staff from Japan, the company gradually will transfer engineers from a design site in Taiwan. Besides handling designing, marketing and quality control, the site will also have a unit in charge of procurement. Conducting procurement operations there will make it easier to capture smartphone technology trends faster, and the company said sending marketing staffers from Shanghai was not enough to respond to customer needs adequately." via Nikkei Asian Review

Can the display industry in Korea continue to grow? ""Korea's longtime leadership in displays is increasingly challenged as Chinese and Japanese competitors are quickly narrowing the gap with Korean companies with massive investments in displays," said Minister of Trade and Energy Yoon Sang-jick at an event at the JW Marriott Hotel in southern Seoul, Friday. "We need to think how to keep the country competitive in the industry." Yoon referred to China's recent approval for BOE to invest in super-sized OLED displays using advanced 10.5-generation glass-cutting technology and the launch of JOLED in Japan. He told participants that the country plans to offer more financial benefits such as tax exemptions to companies focusing on OLED projects. "With a combined global share of 42.8 percent, the country is still leading the industry. But the issue is that the market has already been crowded due to weak demand and continued oversupply," said the minister. Korea has designated OLEDs as one of the next-generation key items. " via The Korea Times

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What's Next in Display Technology? "Reaching a bit further in the health sector beyond display apps, electro-stimulation, medical monitors are coming. UV skin docimeters and even electronics in contact lenses hold promise because of silver nanowire's incredible flexibility and transparency versus other materials. Major electronics OEMs like Samsung, Lenovo, Karbonn, NEC, Toshiba, and LG have shipped products ranging from mobile phones to large-area monitors using silver nanowires. Many others are in development or in the pipeline but not yet public. The switch is on by companies in both the consumer and industrial sectors, driven by product improvements and manufacturing cost benefits. Technologies that are synergistic with silver nanowires are providing opportunities to explore new applications." via EE Times

Should We Say Goodbye to the Display Screen at Work? "Here is a closer look at some screen-free interfaces that could revolutionize the way we work, as well as some of the challenges companies may face as they become more widespread. Ambient notifications: The ORBneXt, a screenless cube-like device sold by Advanced Lumonics LLC, continuously tracks any data stream you choose and changes color to notify you to take action when, say, an important email arrives or product inventory drops below a threshold. You could, for instance, program the cube to glow green when you get an email from your boss or an important collaborator. These kinds of screen-free, background notifications are essentially a way to curb the digital itches we tend to continuously scratch—such as checking our inboxes or stock prices—guiding us back to more productive activities." via The Wall Street Journal

Hello, Retina: New iMacs Get Eye-Popping Displays "Last year, Apple began offering an upgrade to 27-inch iMac called Retina 5K that quadrupled its resolution (5120x2880 pixels)—so many pixels that they seemed to just melt away, and made text look like the printed page. But Apple originally targeted professionals by charging a $700 premium for iMacs with these screens. Now Retina screens come standard on all 27-inch iMacs, starting at $1,800. There’s also a new screen for the smaller 21.5-inch iMac. At a resolution of 4096x2304 pixels, it packs 4.5 times as many as before for $1,500, a $400 premium. The new color capabilities may take more of an experienced eye to appreciate. The human eye and high-end cameras can see a wider range of colors than most LCD screens can reproduce. But in the last year, manufacturers have figured out how to amp up the color range (called gamut) even on consumer-level monitors and TVs." via The Wall Street Journal

Is Ultrasound the Future of Touchscreens? "UK start-up Ultrahaptics, for example, is working with premium car maker Jaguar Land Rover to create invisible air-based controls that drivers can feel and tweak. Instead of fumbling for the dashboard radio volume or temperature slider, and taking your eyes off the road, ultrasound waves would form the controls around your hand. "You don't have to actually make it all the way to a surface, the controls find you in the middle of the air and let you operate them," says Tom Carter, co-founder and chief technology officer of Ultrahaptics. Such technologies, proponents argue, are an advance on devices we can control via gesture - like Nintendo's Wii or Leap Motion's sensor device that allows users to control computers with hand gestures. That's because they mimic the tactile feel of real objects by firing pulses of inaudible sound to a spot in mid air." via Khaleej Times

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Novel Nanostructures Could Usher in Touchless Displays "In research published in the journal Advanced Materials, the researchers at Stuttgart’s Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research and LMU Munich, Germany have developed nanostructures capable of changing their electrical and optical properties when a finger passes by them. The resulting device could usher in a new generation of touchless displays. While touchless displays raise the question of whether every finger that passes by a display’s surface is really intended to interface with the computer, the researchers believe this new interface will address the problems of mechanical wear suffered by today’s touch screens over time, as well as concerns over screens, especially at ATMs, being transmission vectors for viruses and bacteria. Computer hardware analysts aren’t completely sold on whether touchless displays are really next step in computer interfaces. That debate notwithstanding, the technology that enables this approach is impressive. The researchers have developed what amounts to a humidity sensor that reacts to the minute amount of sweat on a finger and converts it to an electrical signal or a change in color of the nanostructured material. (Video)" via IEEE

Is Apple’s 3D Touch the Start of a New Interface Revolution? "It’s all very heady and philosophical—Petschnigg apologized a few time during our conversation for having his head so far in the clouds. Developers are still figuring out what this all means. Petschnigg imagines you could use Peek and Pop to look through your notes faster, for one thing. And who knows what else? “We know basic selection, text selection is going to change,” he says. “Object selection is going to change. We know on the tools side we gained an entirely new dimension of expressiveness.” They’re prototyping a lot of new ideas. “Diagram tool!” he proclaims at one point, like he just remembered it. “In our diagram tool, if you want to pick up a shape, duplicate a shape, stamp a shape, these all start to feel totally natural." There’s one more example he’s excited about: window management. As the world moves from mouse and keyboards to touchscreens, even for productive uses, how do we deal with having a dozen apps running at once? Right now, Petschnigg points out, the metaphor fails. “You know, you click on the window, it comes to the front. The same with ordering of shapes on the screen.” When you want something else, you Alt-Tab, which no one does, or rely on some hacky workaround. “Now,” he says, “you can push things back. You can’t push a window back today. Now, all of a sudden, the street that used to be one way is now two way. Things will change.”" via WIRED

Is 3D Touch 'game-changing' for mobile developers? "3D Touch is a new screen technology that Apple developed for the iPhone 6S and detects variable pressure placed on the screen. It works by using capacitive sensors, which can measure microscopic changes in distances between the backlight and the cover glass as pressure is applied. ...3D Touch is going to improve the overall experience of navigating and shortcutting across all touch screen applications. I do think games are best placed to show if off, though. Knowing what 3D touch is capable of, I think game developers are going to come up with all sorts of new creative gameplay which incorporates the tech. There’s going to be games that people will want to download just to try out those new types of gameplay, things that will only be possible with 3D Touch." via Develop

Communicating with Touch "The heart of Sensel Morph consists of two layers: an electrode grid made up of 20,000 force-sensing elements and a sheet of polymer material that enables each sensing element to measure force over 4,000 detectable voltage levels. This means that the Morph can detect anything from the delicate touch of a paintbrush to the hard slap of a hand. Sensel uses an advanced lithographic manufacturing process to create the electrode grid, unlike most force-sensing arrays, which are typically screen-printed on Mylar film. The advantage of Sensel’s approach is that the lithographic process can produce a sensor array that consistently delivers high-resolution data, where screen-printed systems usually cannot." via IHS Electronics360

Are gaming display touchscreens the best for skill-based games? "So let’s add what happens in a casino environment to the touch screens on slots machines. Drinks get spilled, cigarettes are smoked leaving nicotine and smoke film, people have everything from hand lotions to body oils to a range of other substances on their fingers that can build up on the touch screens making it harder overtime, particularly without regular cleaning, for the screen and finger connection to be properly made and recognized on the touch screens. Net result of a dirty touch screen, is having to tap the screen a few times for your command to be recognized. Not real efficient for a skill game that relies on the player’s speed and timing along with game responsiveness. As the technology standards related to skill-based gaming are still evolving and pending approval, it is likely the type of circumstance described here will be included in the testing process. Yet I would suggest this very issue will be added reason for the skill-based games to migrate from traditional slot machine boxes to player’s smart phones or tablets. During a media only Skill-Based Gaming Panel at G2E, Bryan Kelly, SVP of technology for Scientific Games, in reaction to concerns about the future cost of games to operators by Melissa Price, SVP of gaming for Caesars Entertainment, disclosed that other form factors such as tablets would likely be a part of the future way for skill-based games to be played." via Gaming Today

OLED Gets Cheaper: LG Slashes Its OLED TV Prices "In what could prove to be a watershed moment in the history of TV technology, LG has announced that it’s slashing the prices of its OLED TVs to such an extent that they can now compete on price with some LCD TVs. LG’s new pricing takes between 30% and 45% off the prices of its new flat-screened EF9500 and curved EG9600 4K UHD TVs, as well as bringing full HD OLED down to below $2,000 for the first time. The full details of LG’s new OLED pricing scheme run as follows." via Forbes

What are the pros and cons of video walls vs. large-format displays? "A tiled LCD video wall will be less expensive and will have greater flexibility in how the final image is displayed than a single unit. For instance, a site may want to cover a long, thin wall or a curved wall that a single large-format display doesn't fit on, but deploying the solution will take a little more effort and the finished product will always have the bezel line in the image. A single large-format display is easier to deploy and can show great UHD content without a bezel break, but there may be locations that simply can't accept a single panel this large. A 98-inch panel doesn't fit in the average elevator or in areas with tight corners." via Digital Signage Today

What Is "Internet of Display"? Are you Viewing Your Information Through a Straw? "Most of you have probably heard of the term Internet of Things (IoT) which refers to the fact that millions and soon, probably billions of devices will be connected to information via the Internet. Recently Andrew (Drew) Jamison at Scalable Displays has been chirping about what he calls the “Internet of Display” (IoD). Since reading his article introducing the concept, I have been having spirited debates with a number of people about this concept – and trying to decide if the term has merit and if so, a concise way to describe it. In this article, I will lay out the concept in more detail as I understand it and I invite you to chime in with comments and your input. One of the trends behind IoT and IoD is that functionality and data that used to reside on PCs, workstations or company servers is moving to the cloud. The result is that the conventional display/workstation paradigm is changing and moving in the direction of simply a “dumb” display being all that an end user needs to do complex tasks. For example, this means that a CAD designer can interact and render designs in the cloud delivering just images to his display. A digital signage media player can migrate to the cloud delivering the content playlist in real time. A control room can use the cloud to aggregate multiple sources of data and video using management software resident in the Internet to deliver images to the display solution. A 360-degree video of computer-generated or video images can reside in the cloud streaming to VR headsets or mobile devices." via Display Daily

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