It’s Not Just Science Fiction

Reach Out to the Global Display Community

by Stephen P. Atwood

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Display Week 2014 was a great convergence of people and technology in the friendly and very walkable city of San Diego.  It had been many years since I was last there, and I wondered what I would find when I returned.  Old memories of the beautiful bayside scenery and cultural diversity were refreshed as I explored the many things to see and do in San Diego.  I like to travel but generally avoid large cities in favor of the country when I travel for leisure.  It’s the call of work and the variety of regular SID activities that have drawn me to so many great cities over the years.

Among the highlights of those trips has been the chance to see many familiar faces as well as make new friends from all over this world.  It’s amazing to realize that a common interest in a technology can be enough to bring so many diverse people together, but this year in San Diego we had more than 6000 attendees from over 47 different countries, representing almost every continent in the world.  While Asia and the U.S. were the regions most significantly represented, it is clear that Europe and even Australia were ably represented at the show.  There is no doubt in my mind that we are a society that truly spans the globe.

While the international aspects of SID may seem obvious, given the worldwide nature of the display industry in general, it is still remarkable to me that our industry has such a broad base of feeder technologies and an equally wide range of end-use applications.  Each piece of that elaborate eco-system is enabled by people like you and me who hail from literally every developed country.  In turn, these countless people with common interests join SID, attend events like Display Week, and form their own chapters to arrange local activities.  In major cities all around the world there are SID chapters and local member events, in addition to countless regional conferences and social gatherings – all geared to the common interests of display technologists like ourselves.

I have an assignment for you: While you were in San Diego this year, how many new people did you meet?  Take that pile of business cards you brought back out of your bag or desk and look through it.  Note the wide range of countries and cities represented.  Try to think about some of those faces and remember the ones that made the biggest impression on you.  Now take 10 minutes and write an e-mail letter to at least one of those people, preferably from a country different from your own.  Do not dwell on any business details; just start by saying “hi” and tell that person something you liked about meeting them.  Maybe note a fascinating fact you learned from them or something you were impressed with during your mutual conversation.  Tell them something personal about yourself, your interests, and your work.  Then wish them well and see what happens.  Don’t be surprised if they write back very soon and tell you something equally personal and express their pleasure in also meeting you.  Before long you could have a new acquaintence and colleague that could become a lifelong friend – all for a few short minutes of effort and the advantage of having been at an SID event.  I’ve done this and it really works.

We have a great Display Week review issue lined up.  As our cover states, OLED displays were one of the dominant headlines, with many demonstrations in all manner of sizes and format, including rollable and foldable designs.  Alfred Poor’s review of OLEDs leads off our coverage, which also includes TVs and 3-D technology by Steve Sechrist, advances in display materials by Ken Werner, and flexible displays plus e-Paper coverage written by Jenny Donelan.  In virtually all of these reviews, you will see some key OLED technology playing an enabling role.  I hope you will also see that innovation and diversity are alive and well in our industry with the wide range of new products and concepts being shown.  And, in case you think we forgot, our extensive coverage of touch and interactivity will run in the next issue of ID, ably presented by Geoff Walker.  My thanks go out to everyone who worked so hard on all this coverage and helped us organize it for your enjoyment.

With countless new products and technologies being exhibited, the SID awards committee had many great choices, and after lots of consideration came through with their selections of the very “Best in Show” in small, medium, and large exhibit categories.  Those, along with the I-Zone “Best Prototype” winner, are showcased on our cover and described in more detail by Jenny Donelan in her awards coverage article.  While these few were singled out, a great many more exhibits deserved mention and I wish we had the space to highlight them all.  You can see everything for yourself next year.  Mark your calendar for May 31 to June 5, 2015, at the San Jose Convention Center.

Along with our show review coverage we are pleased to also bring you a Frontline Technology article titled “Practical Computer Vision Enables Digital Signage with Audience Perception,” written by Brian Dipert and colleagues who are working to extend the experience and effectiveness of interactive digital-signage applications augmented with computer-vision technology.  I’m excited to see so many great ideas becoming practical and I’m grateful to all the authors of this article for their efforts.

Last but not least, we have a thoughtful contribution from Bob Raikes of Meko on the topic of “Gazing at the Future of Monitors.”  Bob correctly points out that while there have been countless advantages in the performance of many display formats, computer and workstation monitors seem to have missed the party and are way overdue for some fun innovations in performance and interactivity features.  I’m with Bob, and while my monitor is working OK for writing this editorial, I also would enjoy an upgrade and a chance to try out some of the concepts discussed.  So, enjoy this opinion column and I’m sure Bob would welcome your comments as well.

And now with Display Week 2014 in the rear-view mirror, we bring this issue to a close and look forward to the next one, which will have a great lineup of TV and light-field display articles.  •