Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Notes from the show floor: Magic Rocks, digital snowboards, and one very bright light

Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The Display Week exhibition opened today at 10:30. It wasn't possible in one day to check out even a quarter of what was on the show floor -- Samsung's booth, for example, was chock full of fantastic-looking displays but was so popular that it was also chock full of people. Big, beautiful displays are hard for anybody to resist, of course. I'll make sure to get there early tomorrow to take a closer look.

The most stunning display I saw today was anything but large -- a 3.9-inch autostereo panel from NEC. The 2D/3D FWGA-VT LCD was displaying imagery of fish swimming among coral, and the 3D effect was so realistic that I wanted to reach "in" and touch it. The coral looked a little like those Magic Rocks crystals we (those of us of a certain age) used to grow when we were little. This lovely little display is a prototype, one of several impressive 3D prototypes that NEC has on display this week. Check it out.

Over at E Ink's booth, there was lots to see in addition to the e-readers that have been the company's bread and butter over the last few years. E Ink was showing several conceptual products that suggest clever uses for its electrophoretic technology. One of these is a snowboard with a display showing the temperature, time, weather, compass direction, and other types of information that might be useful to somebody on the slopes. When asked if the display could stand up to the shredding of the average teen rider, E Ink's Sri Peruvemba pointed to the E Ink displays on the floor of the booth that it's possible to step on -- and even stomp on. I stomped hard, but they didn't break. Other conceptual products included an electronic toll pass, a thermostat, a universal remote, and a music stand display. Peruvemba's inspiration for the last product, he says, was watching one child turn pages for another during his daughter's recent music recital. With music displayed via electronic ink, nobody has to be a page turner.

Last, Global Lighting Technologies was showing a general illumination panel that was so bright it had to be turned aside slightly so the inhabitants of a nearby booth were not subjected to unwanted super-bright illumination. (The panel is normally designed for a top-down installation.) Industry interest in LEDs for general illumination has led to a nice new business for GLT, which recently spun out a new division based on this product category. The company's background in creating LED light guides came in handy for this, notes GLT Director of Sales Brett Shriver, who added that most lighting applications don't require the same level of uniformity as displays.

Tomorrow, I'll check out those Samsung panels, and a lot, lot more --Jenny Donelan, Managing Editor, Information Display

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