Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Single Cable Monitor

If you visited the 3M exhibit at SID 2010 this year, you might have spotted a fairly typical 18.5-inch computer monitor attached to a typical notebook computer. You might have thought that there was nothing remarkable about the arrangement until you started counting the cables connected to the monitor; there was just one. And on closer inspection, you would have found that the cable was a simple USB cable. Just a moment; where’s the power cable?

The monitor was in fact a demonstration designed to show off the energy conserving attributes of 3M’s Vikuiti Dual Brightness Enhancement Films (DBEF). These multi-layer films are reflective polarizers that make more efficient use of the light produced by an LCD panel’s backlight. By pairing this technology with the low-energy efficiency of an LED backlight, 3M was able to drop the power requirements from about 14 Watts to just 8 Watts, which is about the requirement of a typical incandescent night light bulb. This low power draw let 3M eliminate the bulky AC-to-DC power conversion circuitry, and simply power the entire display from a USB 3.0 port. And the same USB cable can also carry the display data, eliminating the need for a graphics adapter and graphics cable. --Alfred Poor,

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