Friday, May 28, 2010

Observations from the Last Day on the Show Floor

Thur. May 27. To close out my blogging on Display Week, I’ll just be providing a short list of assorted observations and thoughts from Thursday. It was quite an intense day, but a good one on many levels.

• I was fortunate to be able to provide a welcome to the Market Focus seminar on touch interfaces, and hung around for a few of the talks. There is so much energy going on around advanced interfaces, and this particular group was very highly attuned to the product design and demand side. It was a good reminder that a technology alone does not lead to a success, but when integrated into a product done well, it can be magic.
• On the exhibit floor, it was hard not to run across multiple approaches towards 3D displays. With the crowds thinning a bit, I managed to notice that I had skipped past a prominent demonstration by 3M with an autostereoscopic design for handheld devices. The gamers in my family would certainly appreciate a glasses-free 3D image of this quality on their handheld devices.
• Progress on epaper continues at a torrid pace. E Ink, the de facto leader in the field, has set the bar higher with some epaper prototypes with an astounding 55% reflectivity. This gives new meaning to “paperlike” with reflectivities this high. Immensely impressive were some challengers, though, and in particular the Qualcomm Mirasol display, showing very good color and video rate operation. The Mirasol displays were high quality, and I could imagine this device in a range of products quite soon. At a bit earlier stage, but still very impressive, is the Liquavista electrowetting displays, showing excellent color and video response for a reflective device.
• I got to release some tension at the Corning booth, where the helpful staff allowed me to smash some standard glass plates, and then watched my frustration while trying to break a piece of their Gorilla Glass product. Very impressive, and I was amazed I could not break the glass – I’ll have to bring my own tools next time.
• Flexible displays continued on their remarkable advance. Some impressive examples of displays with flexible backplanes (silicon, metal oxides, organics) and flexible frontplanes (OLED, epaper, and liquid crystal) were visible in both the symposium sessions and on the exhibit floor.
• There was excellent press coverage at the meeting, with national media, local television and newspapers, and bloggers bringing the news from SID to the outside world.
• Solid-state lighting made a strong debt at SID this year. For me, I enjoyed Thursday’s session on OLED lighting, learning about recent advances that are vital in taking this technology out of the laboratory and into products. UDC’s report of a white pixel structure with efficacy over 100 lm/W was particularly impressive.
• Today’s “I wonder how they did that?” moment was in the Samsung booth, with its transparent LCD. This demo looked very much like a window, until an electronic image scrolled across the screen and made it clear that this was a liquid-crystal display, and not a pane of window glass. Very cool.
• To wrap up the day, I enjoyed a couple hours wandering around the poster sessions, and engaging many authors presenting their work. This one-on-one interaction is a way to engage in a direct and personal way with authors, and gain insights into work in a manner that is just not possible by simply listening to an oral presentation.

Overall, a highly satisfying day, and a good lead-in into the final day of SID on Friday.

-- Paul Drzaic, Drzaic Consulting Services, Past President, SID

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