Tuesday, October 19, 2010

#DISPLAYS Smart Electrofluidic Displays Best LCDs

University of Cincinnati Professor Jason Heikenfeld, at left, and doctoral candidate Shu Yang demonstrate how much brighter their electrofluidic display (right) can be using incident light compared to a normal backlit LCD

Organic materials were once touted as the next generation of displays—for instance, Apple is rumored to be introducing a new iPad sporting an OLED display later this year. Unfortunately, the billion-dollar cost of starting up new flat-panel manufacturing lines has display makers extending the lifetime of their existing LCD lines. Now researchers are touting a way to convert LCD manufacturing lines for next-generation electrofluidic displays that are brighter, faster and lower power than LCDs or OLEDs. Look for electrofluidic displays to begin appear in end-user devices within three years. RColinJohnson, Kyoto Prize Fellow @NextGenLog

Pigment fluid can be electrically attracted to the top cavity (making a color) or retreat to below the central mirror (making white), amplifying ambient light in an exceptionally bright display.

Here is what Smarter Technology says about electrofluidic displays: Before the recession, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) were touted as a legacy technology that would slowly give way to organic light-emitting-diode displays (OLEDs). However, the consumer spending slowdown has instead led to LCD manufacturing overcapacity, prompting Sony and Toshiba to scrap plans for new OLED lines. To the rescue is a new electrofluidic display technology that offers displays that are brighter, faster and lower power than LCDs—and yet can be manufactured by retrofitting existing LCD manufacturing lines.
The new electrofluidic display technology uses the same sort of inorganic manufacturing materials as LCDs, allowing their manufacturing lines to be converted over, rather than being made obsolete by organic LED displays. But the biggest advantage of electrofluidic displays is that they require zero power to maintain an image on the screen. Both LCD and OLED displays typically use either fluorescent or light-emitting-diode (LED) backlights for easy reading, but electrofluidic displays instead reflect ambient light.
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