Welcome to Display Week

Welcome to Display Week

by Stephen Atwood

Welcome to San Jose, CA, for our 52nd annual Display Week event, which includes the SID International Technical Symposium and Exhibition as well as the Market Focus Conferences, Business Conference, Investors Conference, Seminars, Short Courses, and the many other great happenings that are organized each year for your benefit and enjoyment.  This year we are in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, also known as Silicon Valley, birthplace of integrated circuits, computers, Internet technology, and countless display innovations as well.  Of course, San Jose is also a great destination city and one that promises lots of options for great food and socializing away from the demands of the office.

It is impossible to see and do all of Display Week by yourself, so invite your colleagues and divide and conquer to suit your interests.  Getting the most out of your Display Week experience involves some serious planning.  Take time to review the full program and mark off the things that are most important to you.  Plan your days to see as many things as you can and coordinate with colleagues to make sure the things you cannot see are covered by others.  Usually, there are dozens of presentations and exhibits that I know I want to attend, but I also find many surprises that I can only discover if I explore as much as possible.  It’s a wonderful mix of the expected and unexpected that awaits you.  I’ve never left Display Week without at least a handful of amazing new discoveries that have since proven invaluable in my day-to-day work.

As we do every year, we have invited a prestigious team of freelance technology enthusiasts to report on all the happenings and they will be hard at work covering everything they can.  We will have daily blog updates on the ID Web site (www.informationdisplay.org) and a full issue of post-show coverage later in the year.  If you have a question about anything on the exhibit floor, just email us at press@sid.org and we will get your question to the right reporter to see what we can find out.  The issue of ID you are reading now can also be useful for your planning because it features our “Products on Display” coverage, which is assembled each year by our staff to help you get the most out of the exhibition.

Our cover story this month is on the annual Display Industry Awards, which recognize the most innovative display products and technology from all of 2014.  The list of choices for these awards was overflowing with worthy recipients and I can honestly tell you as a member of the DIA committee that the final selections were really the best of the best.  It’s exciting that this year’s awards recognize a wide range of different technologies, including OLED, liquid crystals, and the latest in human–computer interactivity.  As you read the synopsis of each award winner compiled by Jenny Donelan, I suspect you will also be able to see that there is no shortage of great innovative achievements in this industry.

This is a very full issue and our technical focus topic this month is Vehicular Displays as developed by Guest Editor Silviu Pala.  His passion for this topic was abundantly clear not only in the great articles he lined up for us but in the exhaustive array of background information he supplied to us through the editorial process.  Be sure to read his industry synopsis in his Guest Editor’s note, which includes some interesting bits about his own history in the field.

One of the really innovative ideas we learned about for this issue comes from a company established in 1998 called Sun Innovations, and its creative way of producing a head-up display (HUD) by inserting red, green, and blue emitting layers of transparent phosphor directly into the lamination stack of a vehicular windshield.  Those phosphor layers are then stimulated by various designated wavelengths of ultra-violet (UV) light from a projection engine.  This technique has some unique advantages, as you will learn from the Frontline Technology article “Emissive Projection Technology Enables a Full Windshield Head-Up Display” by author Ted Sun.  The light engine behind this innovative system is a Texas Instruments DLP, which should be familiar technology to anyone who has followed ID for the last many years.

In fact, DLP imaging systems have some special properties that may make them particularly well suited to achieving advanced vehicular HUD applications, or so is proposed by authors Alan Rankin and Jason Thompson, both from Texas Instruments DLP Products.  In their Frontline Technology article, “Next Generation Head-Up Displays,” we learn about the notion of “HUD 2.0” and the requirements for a display system suitable to convey augmented-reality data to drivers under all environmental conditions.  The requirements are certainly challenging but so are the potential rewards to both drivers themselves and the innovators who will help realize these next-generation displays systems.

We have certainly seen an evolution in electronic displays penetrating and reshaping the classic dashboard layout over the last 40+ years.  First, it was simple VFDs and a few passive LCDs, then it was full center console active-matrix displays, and now we are starting to see entire dashboard systems created virtually with complex backlit and emissive displays including OLEDs.  If you are wondering why it has taken so long and why it is a challenging application space, read our guest editor Silviu Pala’s article titled “Technologies and Trends for Vehicular Displays.”  Silviu walks us through the ergonomic, environmental, and functional requirements that drive designs for electronic displays in vehicles.  Not only does he give us a good perspective of the history of these developments, but through his work at DENSO International, we can see what the latest trends and opportunities really look like, especially in the context of coming trends like self-driving and semi-automated vehicle controls.  No doubt you will come to appreciate as I have how exciting the potential for this application area is and how it may finally be poised to move more rapidly than we have seen in the past.  Personally, I will always prefer to drive my own car and look directly out the windshield, but I could be persuaded to really enjoy a full wrap-around dynamically addressed OLED dashboard and various driver information assist systems like the ones described in this issue.

Although some people are skeptical about the promise of OLED technology for automotive applications, authors Jeff Hatfield, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, and Akihiro Nonaka, all with Futaba Corporation, certainly think the future is bright.  In their Frontline Technology article, “Automotive Applications for Passive-Matrix OLEDs,” they explain the advantages of PMOLED technology as well as some of the important application requirements that PMOLEDs must achieve in order to get a larger share of the dashboard.  I was very impressed with their balanced and objective portrayal of the technology and its current state of performance.  No doubt we will see more OLED technology in our cars soon.

In his Display Marketplace feature this month, author Paul Semenza suggests that we should consider alternatives to the highly entrenched technology of TFTs deposited via vacuum lithography for the next generation of active-matrix devices.  His article titled “Can Advanced Assembly Techniques Alter the Dynamic of Display Manufacturing?” outlines a family of new technologies for building backplanes and displays separately and/or assembling pre-fabricated semiconductors directly onto display substrates.  These new techniques could finally overcome some of the well-known challenges with making truly flexible displays on roll-to-roll processes.  We are used to Paul giving us new perspectives and thought-provoking analysis of the industry and this article is no exception.

Before I finish this month, I want to offer my congratulations to a well-known and highly respected member of our display community.  Dr. Larry J. Hornbeck recently received a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work to develop the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) used in Texas Instruments’ DLP projectors.   I had the privilege of meeting Larry a few years ago when we invited him to be a special event speaker and recall the story of how the DMD was invented and developed.  It was a very memorable evening and a story I have retold many times.  It’s nice to see one of our own recognized by the entertainment industry that benefits greatly from display technologies like DLP.

And so I hope to see you all here in San Jose and hope you enjoy your time at Display Week.  •