Best in Show and I-Zone Winners

Best in Show and I-Zone Winners

The Society for Information Display honored five exhibiting companies with Best in Show Awards at Display Week 2017 in Los Angeles: Samsung Display, JDI, BOE, LEIA, and CLEARink. The winner of the Best Prototype Award in the I-Zone was IGM, University of Stuttgart, in partnership with Hella KGaA Hueck & Co.

Compiled by Jenny Donelan

THE winners of this year’s highly coveted Best in Show awards were chosen from a wide array of truly great exhibitors showcasing the wealth of innovation that is alive and flourishing in our industry. The many and varied sights at Display Week 2017 featured some outstanding exhibits distinguished by creativity, energy, and ingenuity. The line at Samsung’s booth to see its 2-dimensional, stretchable active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED), hidden in a dark alcove, both reflected and generated a special kind of excitement (see below). BOE won this year not for any single product but for many excellent products across a wide range of materials and applications. These awards recognize the effort the winning companies invested in making not only their exhibit successful, but the exhibition as a whole.

Even the selection process bears mentioning because of the extensive effort put forth by the members of SID’s Display Industry Awards Committee. They spend the better part of opening day on the exhibition floor, visiting the booths of all the nominated companies and many others as well. That night, they convene to select the winners of the Best in Show awards so the winners can be recognized at the annual luncheon the next day, and display their award ribbons for the rest of the show. This year’s five Best in Show winners were selected from more than 200 exhibitors. The awards were presented in three categories of exhibit size: large, medium, and small. This year, there were three large-exhibit winners and one each in the medium- and small-exhibit categories.

Large-Exhibit Winners

BOE received a Best in Show award for its multiple advanced display technology demos.

These included a 27-in. 8K LCD, a 55-in. UHD wireless flat-back module (Fig. 1), a 15.6-in. curved (R = 1,000 mm) FHD LCD with 1,000 cd/m2 and in-cell touch, and 5-in. and 14-in. panels based on electroluminescent quantum-dot LEDs (QLEDs). Among the standouts was BOE’s 27-in. 8K iGallery ADSDS LCD designed to show paintings (Fig. 1, right). This panel’s special optical design allows exceptionally wide-angle viewing and anti-glare, anti-reflective properties. Other highlights were flexible OLEDs, bezel-less panels, and a foldable, touch-enabled OLED display. The company’s booth was a great example of how to help attendees understand the breadth of available display technology.

Fig. 1:  BOE won a Best in Show award this year for its lineup of excellent products that were displayed in excellent fashion (left). One outstanding example was the 27-in. 8K iGallery ADSDS LCD, which is optimized to show paintings (right).

Japan Display Inc. (JDI) also won in the large-exhibit category, with the display committee noting two products for the award: the company’s highly transparent full-color LCD and its narrow-bezel, trademarked FULL ACTIVE LCD (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2:  At left is is JDI’s color transparent display. At right is its FULL ACTIVE LCD panel featuring a narrow bezel on all four sides. Photos courtesy of JDI.

Achieving high light transmission has been an ongoing challenge for developers of transparent displays. According to JDI, its 4-in. color transparent LCD achieves transmittance as high as 80 percent, which is an industry record to date, and an important feature for applications such as automotive. This feat is achieved by having the LEDs directly illuminate the panel through the edge of the substrate, rather than from a traditional backlight unit. This technology also permits the removal of the color filter and polarizer layers from the transparent LCD. The transparent displays are still in the R&D stage, but will eventually be available in sizes even larger than 4 inches, according to JDI.

JDI’s 6-in. narrow-bezel LCD panel has a bottom bezel that is nearly as narrow as those on the other three sides. This is possible, according to the company, via a new high-density wiring layout as well as new processing and module assembly techniques. The 1,080 (×RGB) × 2,160 display has an aspect ratio of 18:9. Products based on this technology are now commercially available under the FULL ACTIVE brand name.

Samsung Display won a Best in Show Award for its 9.1-in. stretchable AMOLED display (Fig. 3), an example of compelling technology demonstrated in a compelling way. As ID Executive Editor Stephen Atwood wrote in his Editor’s Note last month, “There was a long line at the [Samsung] booth, and I debated whether to wait in it on the first day of the exhibition. Something was being shown in the back room of the booth that was obviously interesting to people, but there was almost no hint of what it was from the front.” What that “something” turned out to be was a stretchable OLED prototype being continuously deformed from its center region. (It was worth the wait, according to Atwood.)

Fig. 3:  Samsung’s stretchable AMOLED prototype (left) was demonstrated at Display Week in a dark alcove at the back of the booth, where people lined up to see it (right) throughout the three days of the show. Photos at left courtesy of Samsung.

Samsung Display notes that what is unique about this stretchable OLED panel is that it can be flexed in two directions. If pressed from above, for example, it depresses like a rubber balloon, then returns to its original flat shape. The display will maintain its original image quality even while the screen is deformed as much as 12 mm. According to Samsung, the prototype is designed as flexible, scalable, next-generation technology for use in future wearable, automotive, and artificial intelligence applications. The company is unable to say when the technology will advance from the prototype stage as first seen at Display Week 2017 to the commercial stage, but certainly market forces will encourage it to move quickly.

Medium-Exhibit Winner

Silicon Valley start-up LEIA Inc. won a Best in Show Award for its light-field-based multiview display (Fig. 4). Readers may recall ID’s Q&A with LEIA CEO David Fattal in our January/February 2017 issue. The technology depicted in Fig. 4 was also on the cover of that issue.

Fig. 4:  LEIA’s Diffractive Lightfield Backlight (DLB) technology is designed to produce holographic-type imagery on demand from a 2D display. Conceptual rendering courtesy LEIA.

At Display Week 2017, LEIA showcased its Diffractive Lightfield Backlight (DLB) technology, designed to give LCDs the ability to project multiview “holographic” light-field content and switch back to standard “2D” mode on demand. These light-field holographic images can be viewed from any direction (portrait or landscape). They also exhibit depth as well as look-around qualities. Standard 2D images are able to use the full resolution of the underlying LCD panel with no visible artifacts or penalty in terms of power consumption.

LEIA demonstrated its DLB technology at the show in two different form factors: a 5.7-in. QHD smartphone running Android that featured interactive games and light-field movie clips, and a 15.6-in UHD 4K laptop display, running a virtual fashion show and a space battle game with immersive 3D audio. Content was chosen to highlight the 3D depth and parallax capability of the display, but also its unique ability to render complex light effects. The fashion show demo in particular was chosen to show how it rendered the complex lighting of a runway and reflections off the animated fabric.

Small-Exhibit Winner

CLEARink was recognized at SID’s Display Week with a Best in Show Award for its video-capable e-paper display (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5:  CLEARink’s Electrophoretic Total Internal Reflection display excited Display Week visitors because it breaks new ground by providing video and color in an e-paper display. Image courtesy CLEARink.

The company’s Electrophoretic Total Internal Reflection displays have the desirable “printed paper” attributes of electrophoretic displays – they are thin, light, sunlight readable, and ultra-low power – yet unlike e-readers, are able to show color and video at 33 frames/second. Color has been a challenge for many e-paper technologies, but the CLEARink display has an 83 percent white-state reflectance and uses an RGB color filter to create a reflective color display that is vivid outdoors and can also be used in complete darkness using a low-power front light. To enable fast enough movement for video, CLEARink features a clever implementation of electrophoresis that uses an optical plate and lenslets combined with the traditional moving black-ink particles. In the white state, incoming light experiences total internal reflection (TIR) and returns to the viewer. Lurking behind the optical plate is an “ink” containing black particles that are moved toward or away from the plate. When the particles touch the plate (actually, when they get close enough to interfere with the evanescent light wave), the TIR is defeated and light at that point is absorbed. This approach requires the particles to move only a very small distance (~0.5 microns) and therefore can enable update rates compatible with video images.

Applications for this technology include e-books (especially schoolbooks), wearables, video-ready electronic shelf labels, and general signage and automotive applications.

I-Zone Best Prototype Award

The I-Zone is a special component of the exhibition that provides a forum for live demonstrations of emerging information display technologies in a special exhibit area within the main exhibit hall at Display Week. It was created six years ago to showcase cutting-edge demos and prototypes from start-ups and research labs that might not otherwise be ready to exhibit at Display Week. For this reason, the I-Zone is often the most exciting part of the entire conference – there is where you may discover the disruptive technology that will revolutionize the industry in years to come.

This year, I-Zone had many more applicants than ever, and twice the number of participating companies (approximately 50) than in 2016. So for 2017, the I-Zone committee selected not just a Best Prototype winner but two additional honorees.

This year’s winner of the Best Prototype Award in the I-Zone was IGM at the University of Stuttgart, which partnered with Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. to develop a novel headlamp with fully adaptive, driving beam technology that incorporates both active-matrix LCD and LED technologies (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6:  Novel LCD/LED headlamp technology earned IGM at the University of Stuttgart, in partnership with hella KGaA Hueck & Co., the 2017 I-Zone Best Prototype Award.

The VoLiFa2020 headlamp provides a fully adaptive driving beam with 30K switchable pixels, 16 gray scales, and a contrast ratio up to 490:1 on the street, without requiring mechanical elements and using only 25 LEDs. According to its makers, this novel headlamp incorporates the first active-matrix LCD (AMLCD) ever used in a mass-producible headlight module. The AMLCD was developed and manufactured at the IGM, University of Stuttgart, to provide top performance while withstanding simultaneous long-term exposure to high illuminance (≥20Mlx) and high temperature (≥80°C) inside the headlamp module. It is currently being tested in a Porsche Panamera test vehicle.

This year’s two I-Zone honorees were:

•  Jasper Display Corporation and glō for a megapixel silicon backplane (4K × 2K) and spatial light modulator technology for microdisplays.

•  Turtle Beach and Nepes Display for HyperSound Glass, the world’s first highly directional and transparent parametric speaker.

The Jasper and glō technology is a digital electro-optics platform for developing various applications. These applications are based on its X-on-silicon technologies, such as MicroLED on Silicon (μLEDoS), Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS), OLED on Silicon (OLEDoS), and Cell on Silicon (CELLoS). μLEDoS technology is applied to AR/VR, HUDs, and wearable devices. In addition, LCoS technology is applied to microdisplays, holographic displays, SLM, dynamic optics, biotech, and more.

The Hypersound transparent, flat-panel loudspeakers from gaming headphone maker Turtle Beach and Nepes Display are capacitive, and the vibrating layers are driven by two signals; the first is 100 kHz and the second is 100 kHz plus the audio sideband. The audio portion of the signal is constructed in the space in front of the speakers. In this way, just two speakers are able to construct a surround-sound field of remarkable clarity and precise location.

Looking Forward

Once again this year, the annual Display Week exhibition was a resounding success and a must-see event. This year’s award winners well represented the diversity and innovation of our industry, and promise a great future ahead.  •

Jenny Donelan is the editor in chief of Information Display Magazine.  She can be reached at