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Sunday
May032015

Display Industry Technology News Roundup 5.3.2015

Image via Apple Watch

How does Apple's Force Touch enhance the touchscreen experience? "On March 9, Apple announced the Apple Watch and new MacBook at its Spring Forward event. The company also acclaimed its Force Touch (with Taptic Engine) as a new concept in these products. Apple previously seemed more interested in pressure-sensing technology, as it applied for a stylus use patent. However, tap-sensing replaced pressure-sensing. Tap-sensing is limited in pressure detection, and its sensing level is not as sophisticated as pressure-sensing technology. ...Force Touch is more of a marketing term than a specific technology. Apple will likely adopt the most appropriate tap-sensing technology depending on the product. For example, the company already indicated that touch screens are not suitable for clam-shell notebook form factors. Still, Apple will continue to improve its user interface. In addition to the new butterfly mechanism replacing the scissor-like keyboard, Force Touch replaces the diving board design to make its trackpad better." via ECN Magazine

Sharp may spin off LCD unit "Loss-making Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp (6753.T) may spin off its LCD panel business and seek funding for it from the government-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a source familiar with the plan said on Sunday. The Nikkei business daily earlier reported that the LCD unit, which supplies displays to smartphone and tablet manufacturers, will be spun off in the current fiscal year and that INCJ could invest 100 billion yen in the new entity." via Reuters

How refrigerator LCD screens are driving consumers to drink "The latest digital screen innovation for hospitality businesses is a refreshing change: pub refrigerators with transparent LCD displays built in. Heineken has ordered 200 of Focal Media’s new Damoc Cooler Displays for UK and Ireland locations serving its products, hoping to raise its beer brand’s profile and develop sales. Irish firm Focal Media creates content, digitising conventional advertising where necessary to tie in with events featured at the venues – particularly Heineken-sponsored sporting fixtures such as Champions League and European Cup rugby, which can be big attractions for pubs that show them on TV. Content also includes promotional videos and social media updates." via Screenmedia Magazine

Researchers developing LCD shutters that go from transparent to a new scene "A group of researchers at Pusan National University in South Korea are developing LCD shutters that can be either transparent — allowing you to see your neighborhood — or opaque — giving you views of anything you choose to put on the screen. While not a completely new idea, Tae-Hoon Yoon and his group have a new design that could eliminate some of the problems associated with making a transparent display out of OLEDs. "The transparent part is continuously open to the background," Yoon told AIP Publishing, which published his work in AIP Advances. "As a result, they exhibit poor visibility." Instead, the group’s idea involves a polymer network of liquid crystal cells that don’t absorb light when the shutter is "off," making the material transparent. To make the shutter opaque and ready to project an image, you supply electricity, letting special dichroic dyes absorb the light reflected by the LCDs." via Digital Trends

Shape-changing display could spell the end for the 2D graph "Researchers have developed a 3D prototype display which brings data to life in just this way sounding the death knell for the two dimensional bar chart. Human Computer Interaction specialists at Lancaster University have built a device which translates data into a three dimensional display. The interactive grid of 100 moving columns enables people to understand and interpret data at a glance. People can also physically interact with data points by touching, selecting and swiping through them to hide, filter and compare sets of data easily. The 3D display is radically different to interacting with data on a flat screen. A month's sales figures for example spring to life and take on a 'shape' in front of you, numbers become 'things', trends become gradients which you can reach out and touch." via Phys.org

Display database for engineers Search thousands of display panels by multiple characteristics and compare results side-by-side using the display database multisearch.

Graphene produces a working 3D holographic display "The graphene-enabled display created by a team of researchers from Griffith University and Swinburne University of Technology is based on Dennis Gabor's holographic method, which was developed in the 1940s and won Gabor the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971. The team has created a high-definition 3D holographic display with a wide viewing angle of up to 52 degrees, based on a digital holographic screen composed of small pixels that bend the light. ...To create the hologram, graphene oxide (a form of graphene mixed with oxygen) is treated with a process called photoreduction, using a rapidly pulsed laser to heat the graphene oxide. This creates the pixel that is capable of bending the light to produce a holographic image. This, the team says, could one day revolutionise displays -- with the most obvious implications in mobile technology and wearable technology. It could also be used for holographic anti-counterfeit tags, security labels, and personal identification." via CNET

Refurbished Avionic Display Panel Connectivity "As part of our continuing series on aircraft refurbs, we’ll focus on a specific avionics upgrade this month—the wireless interface of a portable device (tablet or cell phone) running a flight planning app with IFR-certified, panel-mounted avionics. If you’re doing an avionics upgrade as part of a refurb, we think wireless avionics integration makes sense, especially as the cost may be as low as $1,000 plus installation on top of what you may already be doing. We’ll look at the underlying concept and outline what’s available from the two main players, Aspen and Garmin. We’ll also tell you up front that while Aspen was the first to deliver, its capabilities are limited, and Garmin’s offering is less expensive and more able." via AVweb

Should outdoor digital signage be enclosed? "As enjoyable as a bright sunny day is, it can wreak havoc on an LCD display. There are two main concerns, the first of which is brightness. An average brightness rating for a commercial LCD screen is usually somewhere about 500 nits, which is fine for indoor environments; however, put that screen in sunlight and it will be very difficult to view. With the increased demands on display manufacturers for products to be placed outdoors, we are now seeing displays made for this purpose with brightness ratings of 2,000 nits and higher. The second major concern is that many LCD panels, when exposed to direct sunlight, can become unstable and the image can turn black. In most cases this is temporary, although at a minimum it will cause a disruption to the messaging on the screen. Thankfully, we are starting to see manufacturers produce products that are designed to be viewed in direct sunlight. As you can see, there are several factors that need to be addressed when end-users are looking to expand their digital messaging beyond the inside of their store. " via Digital Signage Today

How to Use Imaging Colorimeters for Automated Visual Inspection of Flat Panel Displays "The use of imaging colorimeter systems and analytical software to assess display brightness and color uniformity, contrast, and to identify defects in Flat Panel Displays (FPDs) is well established. A fundamental difference between imaging colorimetry and traditional machine vision is imaging colorimetry's accuracy in matching human visual perception for light and color uniformity. This white paper describes how imaging colorimetry can be used in a fully-automated testing system to identify and quantify defects in high-speed, high-volume production environments." via Quality Magazine

Which Apple Watch Display Is the Best? "DisplayMate has taken a close look at the OLED screen in the smartwatch, and it notes that sapphire carries its share of drawbacks over the toughened glass in the Watch Sport. While you're still getting colorful, sharp visuals, the higher-end Watch's sapphire reflects almost twice as much light and washes out the picture in very bright conditions. And no, Apple can't use an anti-glare coating to fix this -- that would scratch easily, which misses the whole point of sapphire." via Engadet

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Could butterfly wings could reduce display screen reflections? "Materials such as glass always reflect part of the incident light, making display screens hard to use in sunlight, but the glasswing butterfly hardly reflects any light in spite of its transparent wings. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany have found that irregular nanostructures on the surface of the butterfly wing cause the low reflectivity and hope that a synthetic version of the structure could be used for lenses or mobile phone displays." via E&T Magazine

How will new electronic paper make inexpensive electronic displays? "Researchers from the University of Tokyo have revamped an old e-paper concept to make an inexpensive handwriting-enabled e-paper well suited to large displays like whiteboards. They describe the e-paper in the Journal of Applied Physics ("Electrically and magnetically dual-driven Janus particles for handwriting-enabled electronic paper"). Traditional ink and paper is convenient for both reading and writing. In e-paper development the writing feature has generally lagged behind. Handwriting-enabled displays mainly show up in the inexpensive, but feature-limited realm of children's toys, and in the high-end realm of touch-screen e-readers and smart pens. A team of Japanese researchers has now taken an e-paper technology originally developed in the 1970s and updated it to make a tough and inexpensive display that could be used like a whiteboard when a large writing space is required." via Nanowerk

Why does HDR for 4K Display need end-to-end thinking? "According to Mark Horton, strategic product manager, encoding portfolio at Ericsson Television, "There is a big push back happening against phase 1 (4K resolution). There is little consumer benefit of Phase 1 at sets below 55 inches and they (broadcasters and service providers) think the extra bandwidth doesn’t justify the consumer benefits". These comments were some that he made at this week’s DVB World in Copenhagen. It’s for this reason, according to Horton, that many broadcasters and media companies think HDR is the much more worthwhile investment and that it can create improved results for consumers simply by being applied to HD instead of 4K resolution. Horton also claimed that Ericsson is working independently of the various HDR-related proposals being reviewed by ITU, MPEG and other standards bodies. So far Ericsson doesn’t favor any specific proposal but the company’s unique position of being involved in the entire content chain from content acquisition to end-user screen technology is causing Ericsson to worry about HDR-related standards and decisions being reached in isolation from each other in ways that cause harm to the entire HDR content transmission line. HDR content, in other words, needs to be implemented across the board in a uniform way and according to Horton, "We need to understand what the ‘HDR look’ will be for types of content, whether sports or drama, and need end-to-end tests in a real-world situation."" via 4K News

Oppo's bezel-less display technology appears on video "A video from China reveals some of the technology employed by Oppo that gives its newer handsets a look of being bezel-less, when in actuality there is a razor thin border around the glass. A prototype stars in the video and in real-life this technology will be employed on the Oppo R7. The extremely thin handset has been the subject of quite a few leaks. Besides presenting a bezel-less look, the Oppo R7 also could be the thinnest smartphone in the world measuring less than 4.85mm thick." via phoneArena

Google Unveils a Stick That Turns Any Display Into a PC "This is the Asus Chromebit, and according to Sengupta, it will reach the market this summer, priced at less than a hundred dollars. Sengupta is the Google vice president who helps oversee the distribution of Chrome OS, the Google operating system that runs the Chromebit. The device is a bit like the Google Chromecast—the digital stick that plugs into your television and streams video from the internet—but it does more. Google pitches it as something that lets you walk up to any LCD display and instantly transform it into viable computer, whether it’s sitting on a desk in a classroom, mounted on the wall in an office conference room, or hanging above the checkout counter in a retail store or fast food joint. “Think about an internet cafe,” Sengupta says during a gathering at Google’s San Francisco offices. “Think about a school lab.”" via Wired

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Light-emitting paper acts as a cheap, flexible display "Ludvig Edman and a team of researchers at the Umeå University in Sweden believe they have solved the problem by going back to basics. They asked the question: "how do you make a display as flexible as a sheet of paper?" And the obvious answer they came back with was: "by using a sheet of paper." What Edman has done is to develop a spray-on solution which allows a sheet of paper to be turned into a usable display. Six layers are sprayed on to the sheet. The first layer is an adhesive allowing the rest of the layers to stick to the paper. Next, four layers form the actual display, allowing electricity to flow across the paper sheet and be turned into light. The final layer seals the sheet and protects the newly formed display." via Geek

How can a touchscreen display become a biometric scanner? "A team of researchers from Yahoo Labs has developed a much affordable alternative to fingerprint sensors for phones. It's a biometric system called "Bodyprint," and it only needs devices' capacitive touchscreen displays to authenticate body parts. Since displays have lower input resolution compared to specialized sensors, the system requires you to use larger parts of your body. It can recognize your ear, fist, phalanges, set of five fingers and your palm -- simply press any of them on the screen for access. In addition to serving as your phone's gatekeeper, it has a number of other potential applications, as well. (Video)" via Engadget

How can video display re-create human vision models? "Image processing technology has achieved remarkable breakthroughs, with more vivid colors, richer detail and higher definition images. This adds up to better resolution and a broader range of available colors at lower cost per pixel. But despite these stunning advances in visual display, it has been impossible to accurately reproduce what the human eye would see when viewing the scene directly. ...The human eye adjusts how it sees colors based on brightness, and color of the viewing light. Technological displays, unlike the human eye, do not differentiate between regions that should be adjusted (such as shadows) and those that should not. ...This new era of real-time color processing, first developed by Entertainment Experience for its eeColor software application, in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology, is now a reality. The new model displays vibrancy that even in Ultra HD, has never before been possible." via TechRadar

Could Silver Nanowire Conductors Improve Touchscreen Displays? "There are several factors that make silver nanowires a material ideally suited to new products for the "touch age." Let's start by noting that touchscreens should be thin, light, visible in various ambient light conditions, highly responsive, and -- perhaps most importantly -- lower-cost. The most popular touchscreen technology is projected capacitance, or pro-cap. At the core is a transparent conductor -- a layer of material that needs to conduct electricity while remaining transparent so as to allow light from the underlying display to shine through the screen. Indium tin oxide (ITO), the legacy conductor material, is neither very conductive nor transparent compared with silver nanowires. It's also too brittle for flexible display and touch applications. Forthcoming generations of both smaller and larger touch interfaces need to be very responsive; also, the display needs to be bright and visible in all types of ambient lighting. This requires notably more highly conductive transparent conductors with high transmission ability. Silver nanowire delivers on all counts." via EE Times

World's first multitouch, button-free 3D shaped panel for automotive "Canatu, a leading manufacturer of transparent conductive films, has in partnership with Schuster Group and Display Solution AG, showcased a pioneering 3D encapsulated touch sensor for the automotive industry. The partnership is delivering the first ever, button-free 3D shaped true multi-touch panel for automotives, being the first to bring much anticipated touch applications to dashboards and paneling. The demonstrator provides an example of multi-functional display with 5 finger touch realized in IML technology. The integration of touch applications to dashboards and other paneling in cars has long been desired by automotive designers but a suitable technology was not available. Finally the technology is now here. Canatu's CNB™ (Carbon NanoBud®) In-Mold Film, with its unique stretch properties provides a clear path to the eventual replacement of mechanical controls with 3D touch sensors. The touch application was made using an existing mass manufacturing tool and industry standard processes." via Printed Electronics World

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Sunday
Jan042015

Display Industry Technology News Roundup 1.4.2015

Image via Cicret Bracelet

Could You Transform Your Skin into a Touchscreen? "The bracelet works by projecting the interface onto the user’s arm using a tiny ‘pico projector’. When the wearer places their finger on the display projected on their skin, it interrupts the sensors encased in the bracelet, and this information is then relayed to the processor which responds - thus allowing the user to scroll, answer calls and generally use the screen projected on their wrists as they would their actual phone. If their crowdsourcing is successful, the waterproof Cicret bracelet could allow a user to access their phones services underwater, answer calls and texts without actually using their handset and access films, games and music with ease whilst on the go. (Video)" via Newsweek

Understanding Brightness in AMOLED and LCD Displays "AMOLED is a fundamentally different approach to the problem, which uses organic emitters deposited upon a substrate. These emitters are designed to emit red, green, or blue when voltage is applied across two electrodes. Similarly, TFTs are needed to control each pixel. As one can see, AMOLED is a simpler solution, but in practice the issues with such an implementation can be quite complex. In order to determine what picture content to use for a measurement of maximum brightness, we must turn to a measurement known as Average Picture Level (APL). This is best explained as the percentage of the display that is lit up compared to a full white display, so a display that is completely red, green, or blue would be 33% APL. As one might already be able to guess, with AMOLED power consumption is highly dependent upon the content displayed." via AnandTech

Toshiba To Show Advanced 3D/2D LCD Technology "The technology is said to use low-crosstalk liquid crystal lens technology with a high-definition gradient-index (GRIN) lens for a 15-inch 4K LCD panel. The GRIN lens system is engineered to avoid image brightness degradation in 3D mode and does not deteriorate image quality in 2D mode. It reduces the abnormal alignment of liquid crystal molecules near the boundaries of liquid crystal lens, reducing crosstalk to 2 percent, against 5 percent in conventional 3D displays, according to Toshiba." via Twice

What the hell are quantum dots, and why do you want them in your next TV? "The funny thing about LED lights is that they don’t glow white naturally. The “white” LEDs in your TV are actually blue LEDs coated with a yellow phosphor, which produces a “sort of” white light. But this quasi-white light falls short of the ideal. If you fed it into a prism (remember those from science class?) it wouldn’t produce a rainbow of light equally bright in every shade. For instance, it is woefully short on intensity in the red wavelengths, so red would appear dimmer than green and blue after filtering, thus impacting every other color the TV tries to make. Engineers are able to compensate for this uneven color intensity by balancing it with workarounds (you could dial down green and blue to match, for instance), but the intensity of the final image suffers as a result. What TV manufacturers need is a “cleaner” source of white light that’s more evenly balanced across the red, green and blue color spectrum. That’s where the quantum dots come in." via Digital Trends

Photonic computers promise energy-efficient supercomputers "As Big Data gets even bigger, there are concerns that trying to process it with conventional computing methods is becoming unsustainable in terms of power consumption alone. ...UK start-up Optalysys is among the pioneers of this new direction in information processing. The company has built a system using low-power lasers and tiny liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), using weather forecasting as an application in its R&D work with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). ...Early demonstrator systems contained traditional optical components but the latest design replaces most of these with the micro-LCDs. Two-dimensional matrices of numbers are programmed into the input micro-LCD's grid such that the intensity level of each pixel represents a number. When a laser is shone through or is reflected off this input data pattern, the pattern is effectively 'stamped onto the beam', turning the data matrix into a waveform. After processing, the results are converted back into digital form with a camera." via E&T Magazine

Display database for engineers Search thousands of display panels by multiple characteristics and compare results side-by-side using the display database multisearch.

Mass production of innovative OLED displays "The YIELDjet FLEX tool was developed to enable Thin Film Encapsulation (TFE), which is the process that gives thinness and flexibility to the OLED device. It is the first product to emerge from Kateeva's YIELDjet platform, a breakthrough precision deposition technology platform that uses innovative inkjet printing to cost- effectively deposit coatings on complex applications in volume-manufacturing environments. ...TFE is an exceptionally complex process. At the center is a multi-layer stack of thin-film materials that are highly sensitive to oxygen and water. Particles on any layer cause defects throughout the device, and even the slightest uniformity aberration will distort the display image. The current production approach is vacuum evaporation. It's a well-established technology that uses shadow masks to deposit the layers in a stencil-like process. However, it is slow, inefficient, difficult to scale, and prone to yield-killing particles." via Printed Electronics World

How does this 4K display turn digital art into an analog experience? "The 50-inch display has a native resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, which is the standard for 4K Ultra HD. However, it isn’t a television, so don’t expect to tune into your favorite show. Think of it like a tabletop digital photo frame, but the extremely high resolution makes digital paintings and photography resemble more like those in museums rather than a digital signage (perfect for cameras that can shoot 4K photos). The large physical size also gives the artwork more impact. Because it supports animated GIFs, you can display moving art too. But the Depict Frame doesn’t want viewers to know that it’s a digital screen. Its industrial designers intentionally made it to resemble a regular framed art – digital meets analog." via Digital Trends

Jaguar Makes Blind Spots Transparent Using External Cameras, Internal Display Screens "The so-called 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen embed a layer of OLED screen on the car’s “pillars” – the chunky visibility-blocking body panels supporting a vehicle’s roof – that are connected to external cameras and motion sensors. When the car is stopped at an intersection and detects pedestrians, the pillar screens are activated, making them appear transparent. They deactivate after the car starts moving again. When drivers turn their heads to check rear blind spots, cameras linked to side pillar screen are activated to offer greater visibility while making lane changes. The vehicle’s entire windshield also acts as a head’s up display highlighting stoplights and even places of interest (landmarks, parking garages). (Video)" via International Business Times

Display industry standoff between Beijing and Seoul threatens tech trade pact "South Korea, home to the world’s biggest manufacturers of liquid crystal display screens for televisions, is pressing for the inclusion of flat-panel displays in the current round of talks for a broader Information Technology Agreement (ITA), a plurilateral tariff-cutting pact launched in 1997 under the World Trade Organisation. "It seems this issue is the most serious obstacle to an agreement on expanding the product scope of the ITA,” a source familiar with the negotiations said. “China remains adamant that flat-panel displays cannot be added to the ITA list for zero tariffs because that would effectively increase the cost of the agreement to the country."" via South China Morning Post

This Giant Rainbow Was Made With Display Tech That's Used To Study Exoplanets "It's not very often that the fields of advanced photonics and installation art meet. But in Amsterdam this week, visitors to the city's Central Station are getting a look at what happens when liquid crystal optic technology is used to something completely unscientific: Make public art. ...The installation uses something called a spectral filter—a filter that takes white light and then disperses it into the full range of colors in the rainbow without losing any hues or light to leakage, based on a technology called geometric phase holograms. In this case, Escuti created a filter with a film of liquid crystal that dispersed light from a four kilowatt spotlight into a perfect rainbow on the glass facade of the train shed." via Gizmodo

Do you have content to share with Display Alliance? Anyone can post press releases, white papers, commentary, videos, and more in the open section.

How could display technology learn from spider webs? "Structures as commonplace as spider webs and leaf venation show they can lead to near optimal performance when copied to create flexible and durable networks that can be used in optoelectronic applications such as photovoltaic devices and display screens, the researcher team reported in a recent edition of the journal Nature Communications. ...A second network, drawing on the same designs that make spider webs effective traps for insects and bugs, serves as an efficient way to draw light through an optoelectronic device. The network could find potential application in next generation touch screens and display panels because of its extreme flexibility, significant mechanical strength, "stealth" transparency and high degree of uniformity, the researchers said." via PD&D

How Touchscreens May Lose Their Touch "The 3-D motion sensing of SpaceTouch is made possible by the addition of invisible electrodes to an everyday touchscreen. These electrodes generate an electric field in front of the touchscreen. When a hand moves through the electric field, information about the movement can be acquired by a specialized computer chip. The possible applications for this technology are many, said Verma. For instance, a surgeon in an operating room could use SpaceTouch to scroll through a patient's X-rays. A cook could browse recipes on a surface embedded in an oven or refrigerator door. And three-dimensional sensing could create new possibilities for video games and educational tools. " via Princeton University

ESPN’s Octoviz display immerses viewers in a graphical experience "ESPN’s new Digital Center-2 (DC-2), which opened last June on its Bristol campus, houses the 10,000 square-foot “SportsCenter” studio, a visually rich eye candy showcase where imagery splashes across wall, floor and banner displays. At the epicenter of this live moving image experience is Octoviz, a one-of-a-kind innovation—imagined by ESPN and co-developed with Vizrt—that controls the displays of real-time graphics across any combination of on-set monitors in their native resolutions and aspect ratios." via TVTechnology

Touchscreens Clean Up Gulfstream Symmetry Flight Deck "Five years ago in an office with limited access to just a handful of Gulfstream employees, project pilots Scott Evans and Scott Martin began outlining the design of an advanced flight deck for their company’s new G500 and G600. The resulting design–the Symmetry flight deck–not only expands the envelope of avionics interface and infrastructure design but also shows how manufacturers are taking advantage of new engineering options to make flying safer and more efficient. In this new Gulfstream flight deck it is clear that there is no effort to edge pilots out of the cockpit and replace them with technology. “We do not want to replace the pilot,” said Evans. “We have a philosophy of supporting the pilot.” What the new design does is simplify the pilot interfaces, including replacing many knobs and switches with touchscreen controls and eliminating the massive control yoke in favor of a new type of sidestick control that makes the cockpit look much less cluttered, improves the view of the instrument panel displays and helps keep pilots in the control loop." via AINonline

Multitouch Gestures for All Automotive Segments "With ‘infrared curtains’, Continental developers are opting for an economical alternative to touch-sensitive or so-called capacitive displays. "Back in 2011, we showed that an infrared curtain can turn any surface in the car interior into a user interface," says Fook Wai Lee, display developer at Continental in Singapore. "We have now developed this technology to the point where it also recognizes typical multi-touch gestures as input, like swiping, zooming, and pinching." ...Continental's infrared curtain is built from an array of infrared light sources on the sides of the display. While a single row of LEDs was sufficient for one-finger operation, multi-touch gestures require two rows of infrared lights connected together. If a multi-touch gesture is performed in front of the display, the electronics of the human machine interface (HMI) recognize the finger's positions from the blocked light." via Autocar Professional

Touchscreen TFT displays for gloved hands "Itron has applied its vacuum fluorescent display (VPD) process to the production of projective capacitive touch sensors which it claims has performance and set-up benefits compared with indium tin oxide (ITO)-based projective capacitive touch panels. This low impedance touch technology, which the firm calls MPC Touch, works with 4mm of plastic or 8mm of glass overlay and is able to support applications where users are wearing a range of gloves from nitrile, nylon, cotton and leather. "Rain drops do not false-trigger the touch screen when the front panel is inclined to allow water to run off," said Itron UK managing director, Andy Stubbings." via Electronics Weekly

Are you an engineer or have display expertise? Email jason@displayalliance.com to be featured in the interviews section.

How laser-illuminated cinema projectors promise brighter and more realistic images "By definition, stereoscopic 3D films show a different image to viewers’ left and right eyes, thus cutting a projector’s apparent brightness in half. Polarising filters, used in most 3D cinemas, halve that again. The glasses worn by the audience take a fifth of what’s left. Pity the unlucky patron who watches a 3D film at the end of a projector’s lamp life: he might see just a tenth of the intended brightness. Little wonder, then, that 3D films have earned a reputation for dimness and causing eyestrain. Nearly three quarters of people opted for the 3D version of a film in 2008. Less than 40% do today. One possible solution involves that cinematic staple: laser beams. Rather than being attached to a shark’s head, used to intimidate an immobilised secret agent or vaporise a rebel planet, these lasers are kept safely in the projection booth. Laser-illuminated projectors cannot only deliver brilliantly bright images, in either 2D or 3D, but also promise better contrast, more natural colours, ultra-realistic high frame rates and resolutions that might finally approach those of film." via The Economist

Sony's new wearable display transforms any glasses into smartglasses "The device is much closer in design to Glass than Sony’s previous head-mounted wearable, SmartEyeglasses, which are glasses that can project basic green text and graphics across the lenses. The new 40-gram display consists of a band that goes around the back of a user’s head, with electronics on either arm. The control board on the right side contains a processor, sensor hub and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules. The unit has an electronic compass, accelerometer and a touch sensor for manipulating and selecting display contents. The 0.23-inch color OLED microdisplay, which Sony says is one of the smallest in the world, has a resolution of 640-by-400 pixels, which is slightly better than Glass at 640-by-360. It extends from the board and an optical unit reflecting the display contents is positioned near the right eye so vision isn’t blocked." via PCWorld

Chemical-Sensing Displays and Other Surprising Uses of Glass "Displays, in one way or another, account for about half of Corning’s revenue, with roughly a third of that coming from Gorilla Glass. To expand this market and withstand challenges from other materials, Corning is trying to add capabilities to Gorilla Glass, such as the sensor application. And it’s looking for new markets for Gorilla Glass beyond displays. The ability to turn your phone into a biological and chemical sensor is one of the earliest-stage projects in the lab. Researchers at Corning and Polytechnique Montreal discovered that they could make very high quality waveguides, which confine and direct light, in Gorilla Glass. The researchers were able to make these waveguides very near to the surface, which is essential for sensors. Doing so in ordinary glass would break it. Making the waveguide involves focusing a beam of intense laser light near the surface of the glass, then tracing it along the glass, which locally changes its optical properties." via MIT Technology Review

Entry-level and high-end converging to propel the digital signage market into 2015 "Integrators are seeing increased price competition for large-scale kiosk rollouts in big-box retail, among other settings. Until now, the only low-cost option was to try to work with a consumer device that wasn't built for digital signage and didn't deliver the reliability and functionality of commercial-grade, purpose-built player. Now that professional-quality, reliable, low-cost, networked signage players are available, we are seeing more and more new customers jumping at the chance to replace printed signage with digital displays in applications where cost was previously a barrier. If 2014 was all about 4K, I believe that 2015 will be a year of healthy and sustainable growth in the digital signage industry — growth driven by the proliferation of 4K and the emergence of reliable low-cost digital signage solutions." via Digital Signage Today

3D virtual reality display technology for medical schools "ZSpace and EchoPixel aim to improve medical education with their virtual reality kit by enabling students and doctors to more accurately replicate work on organs than with other available technology, improving their knowledge and experience so they make fewer errors. ...Accurate replications are one of the main problems facing virtual 3-D technologies. If objects can't be manipulated in virtual space just as in real life, one can imagine it will be hard for anyone to buy into the technology, much less a doctor who needs the most accurate data to determine a patient diagnosis like colon cancer. There are several reasons why objects may not appear accurate in virtual spaces. Visual and position tracking speeds, poor 3-D display resolution and even a limited field of view can all lead to inaccuracies, according to research at several universities. Together, they can even lead users to experience motion sickness. The zSpace 3-D display aims to minimize these problems." via Silicon Valley Business Journal

Do Displays Matter? "In our era, hardware – including displays - quickly becomes commoditized. That is not to say that you can’t obtain a temporary competitive advantage with a dazzling display: the thin Samsung edge-lit “LED” TV, the Apple Retina and the Asus Zenbook NX500′s 4k, quantum-dot-enhanced display. And you can hurt yourself by falling behind the curve. When Apple saddled its iPhones with a ridiculously small 4″ display for a couple of years longer than it should have, Samsung picked up significant market share. (Apple still plays in a somewhat different universe from the rest of us, so it reaped record breaking sales with the iPhone 6 simply by catching up with the competition.) But the business model by which handset companies could maintain large margins by upgrading the hardware a couple of times a year is rapidly losing its effectiveness. " via Display Central

OLEDS and Why Your Old CRT TV Still Works "In a CRT, glass provided an absolute hermetic environment. The CRT was made in a clean environment, the inside of the tube, where the phosphors were, was maintained in high vacuum. Further a sacrificial barium "getter" was deposited on the inside of the tube to bind any stray oxygen that was left over from manufacture. So, the phosphors did their thing in an absolutely pristine environment that was maintained as long as the tube continued to hold its vacuum, which is tantamount to forever for a consumer product. ...The high voltage architecture may have some relevance to OLED design as well. But certainly, cleanliness and hermaticity are the key to making OLED technology work." via Norm Hairston's Flat Panel Display Blog

What did you think about today's news? Leave a comment here and share your thoughts.

Wednesday
Jul162014

Display Technology News Roundup 7.16.2014

Image via LG Display

LG Unveils Flexible Display That Can Be Rolled Up Like A Piece Of Paper "LG’s display division yesterday announced two new types of panels, a rollable 18-inch OLED panel and an 18-inch transparent OLED panel. ...Instead of using plastic to achieve this level of flexibility, LG said the panel is made out of a "high molecular substance-based polyime film". The transparent panel, as LG explained, has 30% transmittance, which is significantly higher than the 10% transmittance in existing transparent LCD panels. LG says that it achieved this by adopting the company’s transparent pixel design technology and incorporating it into the new display." via Forbes

How Epson Keeps Innovating With R&D "Projector technology too has developed step by step. The 3LCD technology that powers projectors used for offices, education and homes had its origins in 1977 when Epson started to develop the active-matrix LCD chips. In 1982 it introduced the TV watch and later shifted to polysilicon TFT systems, that ironed out picture quality and size issues. In 1984, the company commercialised the world’s first pocket-sized colour TV, the ET-10. In 1989 Epson used 3 LCD technology for its first brand projector and since then High Temperature Polysilicon (HTPS) has been the key component of 3LCD projectors. Ask employees at Epson and they will tell you that R&D is the heart of their organisation. Consumers, for instance have been experiencing Epson products with diverse uses." via The Hindu Business Line

Where Does LG Display Manufacture Its Innovative Technology? "I am at the largest screen factory in the world - LG Display's Paju Complex, in South Korea, on an extensive tour. ...In a bright white space-age showroom, Epic Kim shows us possibilities that OLED opens up. Some of these products have already made it to the market - just. LG sells a inwardly curving OLED TV, which is much more impressive than it sounds, and even a semi-flexible smartphone, named the G Flex. Other innovations have not found a product yet - take the insanely high-resolution smartphone screen that is twice as sharp as an iPhone, the 3D TV that does not require glasses, or the fully transparent touchscreen, which I found the most exciting. Why hide the innards of your new smartphone? Why buy a TV when your whole window can show a movie? Why buy curtains when your window can become a black screen?" via The Age

‘Sensor Salon’ brings LCD screens, 3D-printed objects and sensors to fingernails "That’s the vision of students from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., who presented their “Sensor Salon” project at Microsoft today — explaining how they created a prototype salon that brought together experts in design and development to create made-to-order technology for a client’s nails. Technologies embedded in the nails included small programmable LCD screens, and 3D printed objects and charms. ...Other possibilities would include haptic feedback — sensors that would trigger small vibrations that could help people with bad habits such as smoking." via GeekWire

Display database for engineers Search thousands of display panels by multiple characteristics and compare results side-by-side using the display database multisearch.

What Happened At SID Display Week? IDTechEx Summarizes the Show "The impact of the emergence of Chinese manufacturing was not overlooked this year during SID last month, with the opening keynote talk delivered by Wang Dongsheng, president and co-founder of BOE, the largest Chinese display manufacturer. With over 20,000 usable patents and 4,200 patent applications, BOE is in growth mode on a massive scale, with 35% of its products globally launched in 2013. The company is obviously looking to make significant profits from the juggernaut that is the display industry, with an accumulated investment of $260 billion since 1990. Wang Dongsheng though used the term during his keynote "The display industry is suffering from success", referring to its low profitability." via Printed Electronics World

How flexible, micro-thin displays could revolutionize liquid crystal technology "A new research study published in this week's journal of Nature has shown the proof of concept for using what are known as 'phase change materials' – materials that can rapidly switch between amorphous and crystalline states when heat or electrical charge is applied – as building blocks for a whole new generation of ultra-high resolution displays. ..."The main advantage of these displays is not only that they have ultra-high resolution, but also are solid state that can be put on highly flexible films," said team leader Harish Bhaskaran, a materials scientists at Oxford University in an interview with Yahoo Canada News. "Also, power consumption is low and in many respects it can retain the image until you go and change it, so no power is required when the image is static, unlike conventional screens that require refreshing," added Bhaskaran." via Yahoo! News

Why is Samsung the only one buying AMOLED displays? " ZDNet Korea did an interview with Samsung Display CEO Park Dong-Geun specifically on this topic, and he had a little more to say on it, specifically what Samsung Display is going to do about it. Park talked about Samsung’s current expansion into China and other markets where its devices are at saturation point, and would like to see expansion of its display division into these territories as well. Right now LCD is the most popular form of display on devices, particularly mobile ones, and Samsung wants to try to convince device manufacturers that AMOLED is the way to go, as they say it provides a richer user experience by giving the user better visuals. Right now they have to fight the fact that they are the largest consumer electronics company in the world, and as such many are likely choosing to support the underdog rather than the big dog." via AndroidHeadlines

How is Jaguar Land Rover enhancing the automotive display experience? "The car maker unveiled its 'Jaguar Virtual Windscreen' concept that uses the windscreen as a display to project information like racing line and braking guidance, ghost car racing and virtual cones. Jaguar Land Rover Research and Technology director Dr Wolfgang Epple said, "By presenting the highest quality imagery possible, a driver need only look at a display once. "Showing virtual images that allow the driver to accurately judge speed and distance will enable better decision-making and offer real benefits for every-day driving on the road, or the track." (Video)" via Automotive Business Review

How does new transparent touchscreen display work on both sides? "Their TransWall is not only transparent, but it can also receive input and display content on either side of its screen, plus it's capable of haptic feedback. The system is housed within a T-shaped frame that also incorporates two overhead-mounted projectors, which project visuals onto either side of the screen. That screen is made up of two sheets of plexiglass, with a clear holographic film sandwiched between them. Bordering those sheets are two rectangular infra-red touch sensor frames, one on either side. A surface transducer is also mounted in the plexiglass above the frames, plus microphones are integrated into each of them." via Gizmag

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Waterproof, glare-free phone screens invented "The team at The Institute for Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, in conjunction with Corning Incorporated (the makers of the tough Gorilla Glass adorning many of today's premium smartphones) developed a novel technique of "roughing" the glass surface without sacrificing transparency. ...This discovery has strong implications for the mobile industry, where similar effects can only be produced by polarising filters placed over the screen. But these filters can interfere with the capacitive touch interface of many smart screens, a problem Pruneri's team believes may not be the case with their "roughening" method." via Wired

takee Holographic Handset Disrupts Traditional Technology "After 10 years of research and development, takee holographic handsets are taking the lead in handset screen display technology, making a disruptive breakthrough in the field. ...Something of note is that the takee holographic handset is fundamentally different from Fire Phone handset recently released by Amazon. Fire Phone's display technology is not a naked-eye 3D display technology, but rather employs Dynamic Perspective 3D technology, in actuality a form of 2D display technology. In other words, what one is observing is a dynamic expression of a traditional 2D handset instead of a visual display of holographic technology. In this regard, the takee holographic handset outdoes competitors by jumping ahead one generation." via Consumer Electronics Net

How is the digital signage industry being threatened? ""The industry faces tough competition from ordinary consumer television products that are being used by commercial establishments instead of specially outfitted digital signage displays, and the result is a loss for the signage industry as sales go instead to consumer-type replacements." Digital signage panel manufacturers and set makers can capitalise on existing advantages offered by the technology. These include high-brightness displays of 1,000 to 1,500 nits without compromising display lifetimes; ultra-narrow bezel displays for data visualisation; ultra-high-definition displays in high-end applications such as architecture firms and medical operating theatres; and touch, gesture or embedded vision for segments like education, for use in interactive whiteboards." via InAVate

Is the iPhone 6 Sapphire Crystal Display Really Unbreakable? Watch the Test "In an effort to test just how durable the suppose 4.7-inch iPhone 6 panel is, Marques puts it through a serious of gruesome tests, first by stabbing it with a knife, and then with a set of keys. He goes at it pretty hard, too—harder than your average phone would see on a daily basis—and the panel is essentially left unscathed. Even the sharp knife is no match for the sapphire crystal, inflicting zero damage. It’s incredibly impressive. Say good-bye to screen protectors once and for all. (Video)" via TechnoBuffalo

Does display form factor matter? "The way I see it, Google Glass is an early shot at making the computer disappear, at making it hide in the furniture. The true ideal form factor is one that isn’t there at all. It’s just a pure human interface. No friction. ...But even screen size can be handled as a relative matter. Apparent screen size is a function of distance between the viewer’s eyes and the screen and its actual dimensions. A 13cm (5.1”) screen held 60cm (~2’) away takes up the same field of vision as a 130cm (51.2”) screen at 600cm (~20’). You can watch a movie on a phone at two feet or on a big TV at 20 feet." via Forbes

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Is the world finally ready for Virtual and Augmented Reality? "The year is 1979 and Richard Bolt, a student at MIT, demonstrates a program that enables the control of a graphic interface by combining both speech and gesture recognition. ...To this day, Richard’s research speaks to the core of what natural gesture technology aims to achieve, that “natural user modality”. While advances in HMI have continued to iterate and improve over time, the medium for our visual interaction has remained relatively intact: the screen. Navigation of our modern UI has been forced to work within the limits of the 2D screen. With the emergence of AR and VR, our traditional forms of HMI do not provide the same accessible input as the mouse and touch interfaces of the past. Our HMI must evolve to allow users the ability to interact to the scene and not the screen." via Games Alfresco

What's the Secret to Tackling Three Touchscreen Design Challenges? "The secret to achieving the low energy, high performance capacitive sensing is a hardware-based capacitive-to-digital converter (CDC). The CDC consists of two current digital-to-analog converters or DACs. The first is a variable DAC that delivers the current to the external sensor capacitor, and the second is a constant current source for an internal reference capacitor. Capacitance is measured using successive approximation registers (SAR) which is an efficient process immune to DC offset and requires no external components. The CDC improves accuracy and noise immunity by performing a two-stage discharge of the external capacitor to remove ambient noise energy captured during the discharge process. The CDC offers a wide dynamic range by adjusting gain and reducing source current to change the charge timing and more directly reflect the voltage at the capacitive sensor when the source current and series impedance are both high (i.e., such as when using a touch panel or ESD protected capacitive pads)." via Silicon Labs

How healthy is the medical imaging display market? "The worldwide market demand for medical imaging displays used in clinical review, medical diagnostics and surgical procedures, is showing strong growth, according to the new NPD DisplaySearch Specialty Displays Report. Between 2013 and 2017, global revenues for the displays used in surgical procedures and clinical review are each expected to grow at a compound average rate of 9%. Growth in diagnostic displays is forecast to increase 5% per year. ...The number of radiology investigations continues to increase annually, spurring growth in the diagnostic display market. The 21.3in display, now comprising 67% of the market, will continue to dominate this category. However, due to specialised panel and backlight requirements, few manufacturers participate in this niche market. Those that do participate have limited capabilities and some run on older, less-efficient production lines. Therefore, the costs to produce these panels are higher than the more commoditised displays, which results in relatively stable ASPs." via Installation

Pilot's Eye View of the F-35 Head-Up Display "The Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems F-35 Gen III helmet mounted display provides unprecedented situational awareness for pilots. AINtv spoke with F-35 Lightning II Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman about what makes this head-up display special. (Video)" via AINtv

Display Industry Trends – Survey Results "The two questions on laser phosphor projectors seemed consistent with what was discussed at Display Summit a couple of weeks ago. But nearly 1/3 don’t see the technology becoming a mainstream product, a bit higher than I would have expected. This probably means that lamp-based projectors will become value products - and there will continue to be a market for them. On the question of lumen output in 5 years, some are very bullish (17%) seeing the technology enabling projectors with over 35K lumens of light output. Many were unsure about this question." via Display Central

What did you think about today's news? Leave a comment here and share your thoughts.

Saturday
May312014

Display Technology News Roundup 5.31.2014

Image via Wired

How Did Oculus Rift Make Virtual Reality Real? The Inside Story "But even these couldn’t give Luckey the immersion he craved. When he put them on, he felt like he was looking at a play space, not living inside of it. “It wasn’t garbage,” Luckey says, “but it wasn’t virtual reality.” The image quality was poor, because the transmissive LCDs weren’t high-contrast. The head-tracking latency was off the charts, causing a nauseating lag every time he turned his head. But most of all, the field of vision was too narrow. He could always see the edge of the screen, which meant his brain could never be truly tricked into thinking it was inside the game. Luckey figured that he had as good a chance as anyone to solve those problems. So he tinkered, and tinkered some more, and one night in November 2010 he announced to the world—or at least to the message-board denizens of a 3-D-gaming news site called Meant to Be Seen—the existence of PR1 (for Proto­type 1), his first stab at a virtual-reality device. It was a cumbersome beast, built on the shell of a headset from his collection. It displayed only in 2-D and was so heavy that it needed a 2-pound counterweight in the back. But thanks to a massive chassis that could fit a nearly 6-inch display, it boasted a 90-degree field of vision, an angle nearly twice as large as anything else on the market." via Wired

How Can New Transistors Bring Flexible Screens Closer to Reality? "The electronics world has been dreaming for half a century of the day you can roll a TV up in a tube. Last year, Samsung even unveiled a smartphone with a curved screen, but it was solid, not flexible; the technology just hasn’t caught up yet. But scientists got one step closer last month when researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory reported the creation of the world’s thinnest flexible, see-through 2D thin film transistors. These transistors are just 10 atomic layers thick--that’s about how much your fingernails grow per second." via PCB Design 007

Tribute for liquid crystal display pioneer "Mathematician Frank Leslie, who died in 2000 aged 65, developed a theory of liquid crystals while working at the University of Strathclyde. ..."Engineers use the Ericksen-Leslie equations to optimise their flat-screen displays, making them thinner, faster and higher resolution. "Chemists use the Leslie viscosities to help make new improved liquid crystal materials, which can be used for both displays and for other applications, such as in biology. Professor Leslie's research is so influential that if you look around, you will probably spot at least one screen - maybe the computer screen you have on your desk or the mobile phone in your pocket - that has been developed with the aid of his equations."" via BBC News

Industry's first non-ITO film-based 42" display "The module was built by Amdolla Group, a leader in advanced touch module manufacturing, using Cima NanoTech's highly conductive, silver nanoparticle-based, SANTE® FS200 touch films. ...With a scan rate of 150hz for 10-point multi-touch, rivaling the response time of smartphones and tablets, this jointly developed product dramatically increases the speed of large format touch displays. Unlike optical and infrared touch solutions, this module does not have a raised bezel for a smooth cover glass. In addition, the random conductive mesh pattern formed by SANTE® nanoparticle technology eliminates moiré, a challenge for traditional metal mesh technologies, thus enabling touch screens with better display quality." via Printed Electronics World

Medical Imaging Display Market Shows Robust Growth "In the surgical display market, larger screens with higher resolutions are becoming more common and affordable and many are already being installed in surgical rooms, as collaboration among medical professionals, both on-site and virtual, becomes more popular. ...In addition, several key trends in the flat panel display market, including the shift to LED backlights, large, high-resolution 4 MP and 6 MP displays that can be split, color displays that can accurately show both color and grayscale images, and the wide availability of 4K displays, is expected to have different impacts on the various segments of the medical imaging market." via eWeek

Display database for engineers Search thousands of display panels by multiple characteristics and compare results side-by-side using the display database multisearch.

How does oleophobic/hydrophobic coating enhance display glass durability? "Abrisa Technologies introduces CleanVue PRO™, a severe abrasion resistant oleo/hydrophobic coating that repels dirt, dust, water, grease and oil, enhancing display glass performance and longevity. This protective coating is well-suited for high performance anti-reflective (AR) coated cover glass for displays used in high contrast, heavy use and/or harsh environments. The resulting coated surface is easy-to-clean and maintain, does not stain, allows repeated removal of fingerprints, all while maintaining its anti-reflective properties. CleanVue PRO™ is ideal for protective vehicular instrument control panels and devices, field use touch and display panels, projected capacitive (PCAP) and capacitive touch screens, portable handheld devices, teleprompters, virtual reality applications, in-flight and vehicular entertainment screens and a host of other display devices." via ThomasNet

Will the Demand For Higher Generation Glass Substrates Drive Corning’s Display Volumes? "Glass substrates are manufactured in different sizes which are indicated by the “Generation”. Higher Generations have a larger area. Display panel manufacturers prefer higher Generation glass,specifically Generation 8, since it is much more economical. In the third quarter of 2010, 41% of LCD TV panels were produced using Generation 8 LCD glass. By third quarter of 2013, the number increased to 87%. Additionally, with improvements in glass manufacturing process, higher Generation glasses are becoming thinner and lighter and can be used to produce display panels for a variety of other devices, such as smartphones and tablets. In the third quarter of 2010, the use of Generation 8 glass substrates was limited to LCD TVs and monitors. However, by the third quarter of 2013, Generation 8 glass substrates received acceptance in display panels for notebooks, tablets and smartphones, albeit accounting for a small proportion. The over demand for Generation 8 glass substrates is expected to increase 3% by the third quarter of 2014." via Trefis

Display industry prepares for SID 2014 "The 51st SID International Symposium, Seminar and Exhibition, or Display Week 2014, will take place June 1-6, 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif. Display Week is the premier international gathering of scientists, engineers, manufacturers and users in the field of electronic information displays. For more information on Display Week 2014, visit www.displayweek.org or follow us on Twitter at @DisplayWeek. Display Week-related tweets can be created, viewed and shared using the hash tag #SID2014." via IT Business Net

Will Sony and Panasonic form OLED Display Panel Collaboration With Japan Display? "Cracking the cost formula for big OLED TVs is still a challenge for the industry as a whole, but Japanese manufacturers hope they may still have chance to compete against South Korean rivals in smaller-size panels through a three-way tie-up, one of the people said. Japan Display, owned around 35% by a government-backed fund, is the world's biggest maker of smartphone and tablet displays and has a pilot line at its plant to develop OLED screens. Having listed its shares in March, the company itself was formed two years ago through a merger of the LCD units of Sony, Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp." via The Wall Street Journal

Why Did Samsung Blow Large Screen Smartphones? "A recent Canalys report noted a trend showing demand for larger displays shifting to premium smartphones. But, despite the company's dominance in the large-screen smartphone category, Samsung may be missing the boat. In Samsung's most recent quarter, the company reported slowing demand for its premium smartphones. And despite increases in total smartphone shipments, profits for the company's mobile business actually declined. What Samsung failed to realize: When larger displays are reserved for premium devices, the high value of the feature can be used to support a company's premium pricing tier and help buyers quickly identify a company's flagship products." via The Motley Fool

Can augmented reality be made more comfortable? ""Minimizing visual discomfort involved in wearing AR displays remains an unresolved challenge," says first author Hong Hua of the University of Arizona. "This work is making a significant step forward in addressing this important issue." A lightweight, compact and high-performance Google Glass-like device-called an optical see-through head-mounted display (OST-HMD)-could potentially be "a transformative technology to redefine the way we perceive and interact with digital information," Hua says. For example, it could one day allow a doctor to see computed tomography (CT) images overlaid on a patient's abdomen during surgery or provide a new way to train soldiers by incorporating 3-D virtual objects into real-life environments." via Space Daily

'Thermal Touch' Tech Turns Any Surface Into a Touch Screen "Sure, wearable headsets are practical and fun, but are they reaching their full potential? Not according to augmented reality firm Metaio, which this week unveiled a thermal imaging system for use in AR headsets. The company's initial Thermal Touch prototype attaches infrared and standard cameras to a tablet, which then tracks the heat signature left behind when you touch a surface. Still about five or 10 years away from hitting the market, the technology will eventually focus on heads-up displays (HUDs) or interactive spectacles. (Video)" via PC Magazine

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Taking touchscreens into the third dimension "While some end users will continue to prefer designs with buttons and knobs, touchscreens have become sufficiently robust and low cost to make them a viable alternative. ...Microchip has taken it to a new dimension. Literally. Using its GestIC technology, user interfaces can be taken into the third dimension, allowing gesture recognition at distances of up to 15cm from the sensor. The chip containing the GestIC technology is the MGC3130, which features a low noise analogue front end, integrated digital signal processing unit, frequency hopping against noise and recognition of XYZ positional data – most specifically hand gestures. "There is also preprocessed gesture recognition [on the chip]," said Duvenhage. "You could do normal waves in specific direction, or you can do more complicated gestures, like a circle or the equivalent of what we call an 'air wheel' where you can adjust something by rotating your hands clockwise or counterclockwise."" via New Electronics

How can military augmented reality displays be commercialized? "ARC4 isn’t a pair of sci-fi glasses; in fact, it’s not a hardware system at all. Rather, it’s is a software system that accepts inputs from a sensor module made of cameras, satellite information, and head tracking technology, and fuses it all into a display that can be overlaid onto someone’s field of vision. Functionally, the end product makes walking around look a lot like playing a first-person shooter game like Halo. In the military, it provides real-time information to soldiers about their environments, even if their vision is obstructed. ...In a military setting, ARA has used hardware like BAE System’s Q-Warrior display—a large, expensive device that fits in on the battlefield but never takes off in a store. But the ARC4 systems don’t have to be installed on huge devices, says Allan York, ARA’s senior vice president. “Essentially, in a package the size of a sugar cube, you can have the sensing components necessary.”" via The Daily Beast

Is hologram-guided heart surgery a heartbeat away? "This proprietary digital technology from RealView Imaging in Yokneam projects hyper-realistic, dynamic 3D holographic images of body structures “floating in the air” without the need for special glasses or a conventional screen. The physician can literally touch and interact precisely with the projected three-dimensional volumes, providing an unprecedented tool for planning, performing and evaluating minimally invasive surgical procedures. Cofounder Shaul Gelman explains that the breakthrough technology can be summarized as very rapid printing of light in free space. The system is fed with data from standard medical imaging sources, such as ultrasound." via Israel21c

WORM display lets you write with light "Scientists at Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) have developed displays that can be written on and erased with light. The WORM (Write Once Read Many) display is an optical storage device whose molecular geometry can be altered by shining light on it, allowing information in the form of words or pictures to be impressed on it in as little as 20 seconds. The environmentally-friendly display is also easy to dispose of, the researchers report, as users only have to scratch its surface to remove its protective coating and dip it in water to dissolve it. The displays are created using highly photosensitive compounds and can be written on using ultraviolet (UV) light. To fabricate the display, the researchers mix the compounds with liquid crystals and create two substrates. Transferring information involves placing a photo mask containing the data on top of the second substrate and exposing it to UV light with a wavelength of 365 nm." via Gizmag

A Crazy Levitating Display, Made With Particles and Projectors "Pixie Dust, as the team is calling it, builds on their previous system, which used a four-speaker array to summon objects into the air and move them around in three-dimensional space. ...Projection-mapped particulate ghosts are likely still a ways off. Still, the demos here are a fine holdover–and a reminder that our the possibilities of next-gen displays extend to far more than pixels trapped in a frame. (Video)" via Wired

Tactile touch technology "A conventional tactile touch system (e.g., smartphones) presents the same sensation over the entire surface so that all fingers coming into contact with the surface experience the same sensation. In contrast, the new NLT tactile touch technology provides regional stimulation, which is provided by electrostatic force. The electrostatic force is generated by the beat phenomenon in a region where excited X electrodes cross excited Y electrodes, which presents tactile sensation to the users. The tactile touch technology applied to the panel provides multi-finger interaction." via SPIE

Are you an engineer or have display expertise? Email jason@displayalliance.com to be featured in the interviews section.

Display panel makers steaming ahead at full capacity "Industry research institute WitsView recently stated that a momentous boom is poised to carry the panel-making sector through the third quarter, straining production at near capacity. According to the institute, the display panel industry is in the early stages of a transition toward newer product specifications, resulting in strained production output as companies work toward improving manufacturing yield rates and materials consumption efficiency. In addition, the rise of new panel specification is expected to divert limited production capacity from more conventional display panel formats and constrain supply." via The China Post

Could Apple use solar-charging touchscreens on future iPhones, iPads, or iWatches? "The new patent describes a “solar cell stack-up configurations” that includes one or more touch sensor layers and one or more solar cell layers. ...“Using solar cells on portable devices, particularly handheld portable devices with small form factors, however, poses certain technical and/or design problems. For example, the small size of the portable device means there is a small surface area which can be used for placing solar cells. This surface area is typically further reduced by other components that appear on the surfaces of the devices such as input devices and display devices. Since the maximum solar energy that can be produced from a solar panel is roughly proportional to the surface area of the solar cells, this reduces the amount of solar energy that may be gained from the solar panel,” the patent read." via Digital Trends

Will ITO disappear as a display manufacturing material? "Similarly, we all know about indium tin oxide, the transparent conductor commonly known as ITO, and the crucial role it plays in LCD manufacturing and in touchscreens. Some estimates say that more than 80% of indium use is in these applications, and the stuff is used in other areas such as solar PV arrays, too. I’ve heard a few voices that say the price will just continue to rise and rise, and companies will be lucky to get enough to make their screens. They may want to pause to draw breath. Companies like Kodak and Cambrios have been working on the printing of very fine silver wires. By fine, think much thinner than one micron. Because of the conductivity of silver, this still works in carrying sufficient current to an LCD pixel or identifying location on the surface of a touchscreen. ...This doesn’t mean that ITO use will be eliminated. Indium is a by-product of zinc production, by and large, and so the price could likely drop a long way before hitting negative gross margins. That means the cost of ITO can also drop a long way. It seems likely that silver wires and ITO could share the display and touchscreen markets, maybe with silver wires dominating in areas where power consumption is critical. But the idea that indium price and demand will just continue to rise indefinitely is likely wrong." via InvestorIntel

How the US Navy Is Pushing the Touchscreen Envelope "The Navy will soon field its first 3-D Weapons Launch Console Tram Trainer at the Submarine Training Facility in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. ...The screens — some up to 55 inches — are not just touch-sensitive but pressure-sensitive. There’s no mouse-clicking to make things happen; sailors are expected to reach out and “grab” the objects they want to manipulate. ...In fact, this simulator is pushing the state-of-the-art in haptics, or tactile feedback, and is helping to move the simulation industry itself to a new level." via DefenseNews

Automotive Displays: Visteon OASIS Cockpit Concept "Optimized. Adaptable. Secure. Intelligent. Seamless. In collaboration with Cisco, this cockpit concept securely connects all aspects of the vehicle to the user profile and cloud services. It uses a secure data pipe that actively switches methods (modem, phone tethering, WiFi®), while maintaining a seamless connection to the cloud. This makes the cockpit adaptable through personalization, off board computing and intelligent vehicle module updates - giving the user and auto manufacturers intelligence about user interactions and preferences to improve the HMI experience. For more information about this and other exciting concepts, visit visteon.com. (Video)" via YouTube

What did you think about today's news? Leave a comment here and share your thoughts.

Tuesday
May062014

Display Technology News Roundup 5.6.2014

Image via Cypress Semiconductor / Electronics Weekly

What are the design considerations for large-area touchscreens? "As screen sizes increase, the main challenge for capacitive touch is maintaining the same performance users have come to expect from a mobile phone but over a larger screen. This means scanning more intersections, over more surface area, in the same amount of time. ...It is challenging for large screens to maintain fast refresh rates because the touch controller needs to sweep greater surface area, gather data from all intersections, and process that data." via Electronics Weekly

Why Are Mobile Display Revenues Overtaking TV Displays? "With larger display area and comparatively higher unit prices, LCD TV panels have generated a majority of FPD revenues since 2006, but over the past three years, the market for mobile devices has expanded. The recent trend toward higher resolutions, slimmer and more lightweight specifications, wider viewing angle, lower power consumption, and the emergence of LTPS and OLED displays are causing mobile display revenues to soar." via PCB007

Why Did Apple Just Buy A Tiny Display Company And What Could It Mean? "Apple used to push display technology with its products, most notably when it brought the Retina Display to the iPhone. But that hasn’t been the case lately, which makes its recent acquisition of tiny LuxVue Technology all the more interesting. But LuxVue’s technology has fascinating implications around low power and high brightness and could eventually mean Apple will manufacture its own displays for the first time. It could also allow the company to gain technological leadership again, as it has with its own in-house chipmaking, which was also made possible by an acquisition that didn’t seem especially all that important at the time. In a scoop over at TechCrunch, Apple responded with its typical non-comment about what it intends to do with LuxVue and to say the company is little known would be a case in understatement." via Forbes

How Can Quantum Dots (QDs) Increase Display Color and Brightness with Less Power? "The optical and electrical properties of the manufactured crystals can vary markedly according to their size and shape: The bigger the dot, the larger its bandgap and the longer the wavelength it emits. The smaller the dot, the smaller its bandgap – which means a shorter wavelength due to the quantum confinement of electrons and holes in these nanomaterials. Quantum dots offer marked advantages over fixed-spectrum conventional phosphor technologies because QDs are tunable, so they can be induced to emit at a very narrow wavelength. Improvements to the technology in recent years are also making them more attractive." via Photonics

Why is smartphone component production causing LCD display shortages and hurting the display industry? "In recent months, there has been growing demand for a number of high-value components for smartphones and tablets, including fingerprint sensors, CPUs, cameras and touch controllers, along with 4K television timing controllers. According to NPD DisplaySearch large-area displays analyst Peter Su, semiconductor manufacturers in Taiwan have increasingly been prioritising the manufacturing of these higher-value components over timing controllers [T-cons] for LCD displays. In a statement, Su warns the prioritising of higher margin components is leading to a shortage of T-cons." via Smart Company

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Sharp improves TN LCD panels with clever light scattering optical film "Adding a film to a TN panel isn’t a new concept, but Sharp’s film promises to do a much better job of improving angled viewing. Typically, existing films only improve viewing horizontally, not vertically. Sharp’s new optical film improves both by scattering light and being able to control which direction that light is scattered in." via Geek

How have avionic displays entered the future? "Analog gauges, often referred to as “steam gauges,” ruled the instrument panels of all aircraft for nearly 80 years. But with the advent of powerful and inexpensive semiconductors, and the clarity of liquid crystal diode displays, it became easier to combine many instruments onto space-efficient, yet easy to read, glass screens called multi-function displays (MFDs). Along with advancements of glass display screen came synthetic vision systems (SVS). Loosely defined as real-time, 3D color imagery, SVS makes paper navigation products nearly obsolete. Instead, it uses a preloaded, internal database to create a pilot’s-eye view of the terrain the aircraft is passing over at that time." via Aviation Today

What are the challenges of designing automotive heads-up displays? "HUDs work by projecting an image, usually from a liquid crystal display (LCD), onto the windshield or a piece of glass above the instrument cluster. ...Designing a good HUD presents many challenges. It needs to have a very wide contrast ratio. It must display an image bright enough to be clearly seen on a sunny day, but also dim the image so that it does not obscure the driver’s vision at night." via EDN

How did Apple and Samsung get into a smartphone war? "The first products known to have been the focus of one of Samsung’s major price-fixing conspiracies were cathode-ray tubes (C.R.T.’s), which were once the technological standard for televisions and computer monitors. According to investigators in the U.S. and Europe, the scheme was quite structured: competitors secretly got together in what they called “Glass Meetings” at hotels and resorts around the world—in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and at least eight other countries. Some of the meetings involved the most senior executives, while others were for lower-level operational managers. The executives sometimes held what they called “Green Meetings,” characterized by rounds of golf, during which the co-conspirators agreed to raise prices and cut production to receive higher profits than would have been possible had they actually competed with one another. The scheme was eventually exposed, and over the course of 2011 and 2012, Samsung was fined $32 million in the U.S., $21.5 million in South Korea, and $197 million by the European Commission." via Vanity Fair

How to Install a Heads-Up Display in a Fifth Gen Camaro "There’s just something about checking your speed, gas gauge, and tachometer without having to look down that makes driving a new Camaro quite enjoyable and, once you’ve experienced that luxury, it’s quite difficult to go back. Unfortunately, not every fifth-gen Camaro shipped from the factory with a HUD and if you’re in the market for a used 2010, or you’re an original owner who didn’t have the option available at the time of purchase, you might think you are out of luck. But fear not fans of the futuristic windshield gauge concept, Heads Up can be yours and it can even be installed in your own driveway with a couple of factory parts and a weekend worth of work, if you’re willing to put in the effort. That said, we should mention up front that this can be quite a daunting task if you’re easily intimidated by making a mess in your new Camaro and it certainly isn’t a modification for the faint of heart. You’re going to have to dig in deep and, at some point, wonder if you’ve made a major mistake." via GM High-Tech Performance

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Will virtual reality (VR) make flat panel displays obsolete? ""A traditional display, especially larger ones, they're very expensive to manufacture and ship... it's literally just a lot of plastic and a lot of glass in a big box that has to be shipped across the world," Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey continued. "Sometimes it breaks, then it has to sit on a giant store shelf until someone buys it. Once VR is commoditized, let's say 10 years from now, the tech from two years prior, you'll be able to buy a really good VR headset for $99, because there's not much material, once it's all commoditized..."" via Ars Technica

UK Developers Create Reach-Through Displays For Tabletops "Researchers from the University of Bristol have reportedly developed a new reach-through tabletop display with personal screens comprised of a curtain of mist, according to research scheduled to be presented later this month at an international conference on human-computer interaction. ...The device is known as MisTable and it is described as a tabletop system that combines a traditional interactive table with personal monitors built using fog between the user and the table’s surface." via redOrbit

New display brings the Internet to your wall "That's where Electric Objects, Jack Levine's new venture, comes in. He wants to take some of the more serene parts of the Internet out of that stress-inducing device sitting on your desk, and put them on your wall through a different kind of device. ...The product is still in the prototype phase. But the current unpriced model hacked together by Levine is bigger than an iPad and, at 23 inches, smaller than most TVs. A final, more polished version will include a screen designed to be on at all times, with sensors that detect if anyone is nearby, activating the screen. It will also have a tilt sensor to reorient itself in either landscape or portrait modes, and an ambient light sensor to keep the brightness low and subtle." via Fast Company

Why Some Doctors Like Google Glass So Much "At a recent event hosted by Google’s Cambridge branch, doctors from across the country came to show off how they’d thought of harnessing Glass for medicine. One presenter, Rafael Grossman, a surgeon based in Bangor, Maine, was the first person to use Glass during live surgery. He thinks the technique could help doctors teach new surgeons. But for the pilot at Beth Israel, video is off the table, at least for now. “We wanted to stay away from anything that could potentially be misconstrued as leaking patient information, so until we had a case study and a good foundation, we purposely stayed away from enabling the video feed,” says Horng." via MIT Technology Review

How tiny company Amorphyx is seeking to reshape the huge, mature business of manufacturing displays "Cowell and Amorphyx co-founder and chief executive John Brewer Jr. are preparing for a whirlwind, four-day trip to Taipei, Japan and South Korea, where they will meet with executives of major display manufacturing companies including Samsung and Sony. They hope to make progress toward an agreement to cooperate in testing and refining a process that would replace silicon-based transistors with amorphous metals-based resistors. Amorphyx has been doing this on a small scale in the lab, where it sprays two layers of metal compounds and an insulator onto wafers, then tests them for conductivity. Now it hopes to kick the process to a higher production volume. For the layperson, what this means is that displays built with Amorphyx's non-silicon process would consist of fewer layers than prevailing liquid-crystal manufacturing technologies, cost less and could be used on flexible surfaces." via Oregon Live

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Shape-Shifting Touchscreen Buttons Head to Market "That technology was developed by startup Tactus Technology, which uses tiny fluid-filled channels and elastic blisters to make buttons rise up from a device’s screen and then disappear without trace when they’re no longer needed (see "Demo: A Shape-Shifting Smartphone Touch Screen"). Electronics manufacturing giant Wistron has now modified equipment at one of its factories in China to produce touch-screen panels with the shape-shifting technology inside. Wistron is one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers; it’s made devices for brands including BlackBerry, Apple, and Acer. The company also recently became an investor in Tactus." via MIT Technology Review

A Joystick-Inspired Interface Could Solve Smartwatch Displays' Biggest Problem "Think of the way we used to use those small nubs located in the middle of an older laptop’s keyboard to move the cursor, and you’ll understand how this concept — created by Robert Xiao, Gierad Laput and Chris Harrison — works. Except that instead of a cursor, it’s navigating a mobile device’s UI that usually relies on taps and gestures. The problem is that your fingers are usually far too large to use all the same gestures you rely on with your smartphone on a watch’s tiny touchscreen. And you usually end up blocking the display in the process, making it even more difficult. So this concept reproduces most of that functionality with a watch display that can be subtly tilted side to side, up and down, rotated, and even pressed like a button." via Gizmodo

Should touchscreens be more intuitive? "Chris Harrison from CMU's Future Interfaces Group thinks modern, "flat" software doesn't profit from our dexterity with real-world tools like cameras, markers or erasers. To prove it, he created TouchTools, which lets you manipulate tools on the screen just as you would in real life. By touching the display with a grabbing motion, for example, a realistic-looking tape measure appears, and if you grab the "tape," you can unsheathe it like the real McCoy. " via engadget

Japan’s New Floating Touchscreen "The process is very fast paced, actually...allowing for highly responsive image manipulation. Hundreds of pictures are taken per second by stereo cameras. This allows the technology to precisely track a user’s hand and finger gestures as they relate to the floating images on the screen. These gestures are then translated into commands by computer software. Professor Ishikawa explains the advantage of gesture technology: “In hospitals and such during surgery, when one’s hands are dirty, it’s still possible to use this, or to use it in a variety of situations at a construction site.”" via Trefis

Atmel Announces Next-Gen Touchscreen Controllers "Atmel is well-known in the context of MCUs and FPGAs -- but it is also a major player with regard to touchscreen technology, especially in the large format screen space. ...The mXT1066T2 and mXT1068T2 controllers support both mutual-capacitance and self-capacitance sensing. By intelligently switching back and forth between the two and using a hybrid approach, designers can achieve optimal power consumption and noise immunity, even in high humidity and moisture environments, while supporting bare finger and gloved operation. Additionally, mXT1068T2 controllers supports hover operation in which the user's finger can be up to 20mm above the touch surface." via EE Times

Touchscreen Interface Based on Little Mobile Robots "Thumbles features tiny little omnidirectional robots that live on top of a projected screen. By grabbing them and dragging them around as they try to drive around, you can experience a completely new type of physical interactivity. What makes Thumbles unique is that the robots can move by themselves. They can provide force feedback, or dynamically form different kinds of physical controls, or act as virtual representations of things like molecules or mechanical structures. (Video)" via IEEE Spectrum

Could 'Star Wars' holographic displays become a reality? "HP Labs spinout Leia believes it is. Using a clever system of diffraction gratings, its small displays produce 64 different versions of each image, allowing a viewer to move around an object or person shown on the display as if it was right in the room with them. CEO David Fattal spoke to an eager crowd of imaging researchers at Stanford University about his company’s progress since it separated from HP. While the concepts behind Leia are the same as when the team’s work at HP was first published in Nature last year, the new company now has full color prototypes with improved resolution as it prepares for a product launch. Key to Leia’s technology is the use of fairly simple diffraction gratings at each pixel to redirect the backlight in different directions. " via ExtremeTech

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