It’s a very good sign when the keynote addresses at Display Week incorporate all of the elements that you want to see in the opening talks at a conference. Provocative, visionary, inspiring, and just plain cool are some of the adjectives I’d use for the keynote addresses I saw at the Display Week opening session on Tuesday.
Dr. S.S. Kim of Samsung Mobile Displays led off the trio of keynotes by going back to the past. He noted that in 2005, the display industry was ripe for a revolution, and that Dr. S.W. Lee of Samsung Displays predicted that 200M LCD TVs would be sold by 2010. At the time, that was an astounding prediction, but the industry rallied around LCD TVs, so that the 100M-unit target was met in 2008, two years early. Dr. Kim provided some evidence that the industry is ready for yet another revolution, and that OLED display technologies can provide yet another wave of massive growth. Among Dr. Kim’s predictions were that OLED displays would achieve majority market share in mobile devices by 2015, with over 600M units planned for shipment. Interestingly, Dr. Kim stated that even 1B units of OLED display shipments are possible by this date.
While hitting this target would be quite an achievement, Dr. Kim also asserted that OLED displays could become the dominant technology in premium TV products. Samsung is investing serious money (over US$2B) in Generation 5.5 plants for AMOLED displays, and the company has a goal of developing and building Gen 8 AMOLED plants. He ended his talk with the statement that “markets are created, not forecast”, and certainly provided evidence that the industry is betting heavily on creating a significant OLED display market.
The next keynote of Mike Sinnett of Boeing provided both a look forward and a look back at displays in avionics. Mr. Sinnett showed some entertaining and somewhat unsettling pictures of what the cockpits looked like in the earliest airplanes, and illustrated how the evolution of technology led to more and more sophistication and complexity in the cockpit. The Boeing 747-200, for example, had over one thousand lights, gauges, and switches that needed to be monitored and operated by the flight crew.
The advent of reliable, large format electronic displays went a long way towards simplifying aircraft flying and operation, and in improving safety for passengers and crew. Through the judicious use of well-designed displays and interfaces, fewer crew are needed to safely operate an airplane, flight efficiency is improved, and overall safety enhanced. Mr. Sinnett provided a compelling picture of how the implementation of advanced display technologies has enhanced the capabilities of the flight crew, with effects benefiting crew and passengers alike.
Mr. Steve Bathiche of Microsoft Corporation provided the final keynote address. He showed a number of fascinating videos of interactive surface technologies under development in his laboratory. He drove home the idea that a display that can look out and interact with its environment can provide additional layers of functionality and interaction compared to simple displays. We saw videos of virtual cloths being picked up by a user, which could be stretched, folded, or torn, using natural hand gestures. We saw displays that track the position of users, and then provide a custom image to a particular user, with a different image visible to a different viewer of the same display. Virtual objects on the screen could be tossed, turned, or moved around, and if they bumped into other, the virtual objects responded in a very natural way. Overall, the goal for the interactive display is that the “display has to see and understand you (the user).” We saw some pretty amazing examples of new interfaces that are destined to enrich the experience of users, and will likely drive new applications.
All in all, a very satisfying morning indeed.
-- Paul Drzaic, Drzaic Consulting Services, Past-President SID