Major Display Advance to be on View at Arizona State University
PHOENIX—During the leading conference on printed electronics (Printed Electronics USA 2006, December 5-6, 2006, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Phoenix), there will be a tour of the renowned display research center at Arizona State University. Its remarkable advances are nearer to commercialization than most realize, for example, the new flexible displays could be field tested as early as 2007.
These displays use electrophoretic inks made by conductive ink supplier E-Ink (Kent Displays is also a partner). They will be used in handsets initially and then be embedded into fabric so they can be integrated in military uniforms.
These displays will provide soldiers with real-time mission updates, logistical information and detailed maps. They will download data or maps from a satellite to clarify a squadron’s position or provide details on the location of enemy forces.
Once the size of the display has been increased, work will focus on applying advanced touch screen elements. ‘Enabling solders to add or write data on the display is definitely a future target,’ explains Greg Raupp, the director of the Flexible Display Centre. ‘The display will be lightweight, consume very little power, and will be rugged and able to withstand high levels of heat and vibration.’
The displays will be four inches in diameter and have a pixel range of 320 x 240. According to Raupp, the display center intends to nearly triple the size of the display to 12 inches (30 centimeters) by 2008. ‘We have adopted a very aggressive progress roadmap, as the technological collaboration with E-Ink has enabled us to work at a very high tempo,’ explains Raupp.
Conventional polymer films are used as the main substrate material but Raupp says that thin layers of stainless steel will also be tested. Stainless steel is much more flexible than plastic and can be cut to a near transparent layer.