Next-Gen Displays Enabling Super-Friendly Devices (Part 2)

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Touch magic in large, retail displays

It is not just mobile phones and such personal devices that are into the touch fad. Retail displays are also getting a huge touch makeover. Industry experts claim that users are so used to touch- enabled displays in their personal devices that they expect the same inter­activity to be extended to larger-format screens as well. What sets this segment apart is the need for robustness as the displays will be frequently used by several untrained users.

Spice king McCormick recent­ly opened its World of Flavors - a 353sq.m complex at the Baltimore In­ner Harbor, in USA, where it has deployed 107cm (42-inch), touch-enabled HP digital signage displays and HP TouchSmart All-in-One PCs. Apart from several digital engagements, in­cluding a guess-the-spice game, it has setup an 8.5m (28-foot) wall dedicated to broadcasting McCormick's past and history of spices and flavors in an immersive experience.

HP TouchSmart 9100 All-in-One PC

HP TouchSmart 9100 All-in-One PC

J2 Retail Systems, makers of special digital displays for the retail world, also has some interesting products such as the TFR and Pro-Cap. Their True Flat Resistive (TFR) screen has a bezel-free design that makes it a totally flat, sealed screen that is both practical and stylish. The TFR screen's IP rating denotes that it can be used outdoors.

For exceptional durability, J2 is also equipping some of its models with Projective Capacitive Touch (Pro-Cap) screens, which apparently come with an almost unlimited touch life. These scratch-resistant glass screens are said to be durable, while also delivering stable performance with exceptional screen clarity and brightness. Pro-Cap screens also allow finger touch inputs such as gesturing, and are unaffected by moisture, temperature or harsh clean­ing products. J2 offers touch screens in 5-wire resistive, surface acoustic wave (SAW) and infrared types.

Samsung has created much more excitement with three new technolo­gies unveiled at the GITEX Technology Week held in October this year at the Dubai World Trade Centre: a transpar­ent display (NL22B), a 190cm (75-inch) LED LFD (ME75B) and a 3D video wall.

The NL22B trans­parent display can be used to create an immersive shopping experience. It may also be used in other fields such as health­care and education. The 56cm (22-inch) transparent display is a cube-shaped de­vice that contains a transparent front panel with a com­puter built into the chassis. It allows images and animations to interact with the products showcased inside the cube. So it can be used in a store to al­low users to interactively find out more about products, try out various combi­nations, etc, before making a purchase.

Samsung's NL22B transparent display

Samsung's NL22B transparent display

The ME75B is a cutting-edge, huge light-emitting diode (LED) display that is energy-efficient, smart and network-enabled. It can adjust brightness by itself, and has a built-in media player too, which makes it a standalone device. It can be used with a touch overlay and can be implemented at stores or res­taurants to provide customers with an interactive guide.

The 3D video wall is a slim, edge lit, high-definition LED panel - another product that will be loved by retailers!

The ME75B is a cutting-edge, huge light-emitting diode (LED) display that is energy-efficient, smart and network-enabled.

The ME75B is a cutting-edge, huge light-emitting diode (LED) display that is energy-efficient, smart and network-enabled.

Performance matters - everywhere

While touch has been throwing its weight all over the display scene, other factors such as resolution and display performance also continue being points of innovation. The issue of performance, for instance, is being dealt with from varied angles - right from the material to the chip and the software.

One interesting example is the Corning Lotus Glass technology un­veiled last year. The eco-friendly, high-performance display glass has been developed to support the demanding manufacturing processes of both or­ganic LED displays and LCDs for high-performance, portable devices such as smart phones, tablets and notebook computers. It performs exceptionally well in low-temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) and oxide TFT backplane manufacturing environments.

"Corning Lotus Glass has a high annealing point that delivers the thermal and dimensional stability our customers require to produce high performance displays," said Andrew Filson, worldwide commercial direc­tor, Display Technologies, and vice president, Corning Holding Japan GK, in a press report. "Because of its intrinsic stability, it can withstand the thermal cycles of customer processing better than conventional LCD glass substrates. This enables tighter design rules in advanced backplanes for high­er resolution and faster response time."

To keep pace with the demand for performance, this year 3M also announced a few high-performance multi-touch displays that extend tablet­-like responsiveness to larger, interactive displays. The 61cm (24-inch) M2467PW and the 69cm (27-inch) M2767PW fea­ture brilliant high-definition graphics powered by LED backlights, wide view­ing angles and elegant smart phone-like product design. The M2467PW can recognize up to 20 simultaneous touch events. The M2767PW with ultra-fast 40-touch capability is ideal for multi­user applications such as digital signage and product selectors.

Based on 3M's Projected Capacitive Technology (3M PCT), these multi-­touch displays offer the unique ability to recognize and reject the user's palms or arms resting on the touch screen to help prevent inadvertent touches while also maximizing multi-touch function­ality. A 3M-proprietary Anti-Stiction surface treatment allows the user's fingers to effortlessly glide across the screen for smoother gesturing and ac­curate draw capabilities.

Microsoft never stands out of any race! This March, researchers at Microsoft claimed to have developed a touch screen display that improves touch screen latency by a factor of 100. Current touch screen displays have an input latency of about 100 ms, which is responsible for the delay we notice between giving the input and seeing it on screen. In a video demonstra­tion, a Microsoft researcher showed a 10ms latency screen that changed the delay of a movable virtual object on the screen to a rubber band impres­sion. This was followed by a 1ms delay version, in which the delay was barely perceivable. However, the company also made it clear that this is still a 'technology' and will take many years before it becomes a product.

3M's M2167PW multi-touch display offers 20 simultaneous touch events at an ultra-fast 6-millisecond response time.

3M's M2167PW multi-touch display offers 20 simultaneous touch events at an ultra-fast 6-millisecond response time.

Sun-screen, anybody?

Readability in sunlight is an important parameter for comparison of mobile device models these days and justly so. This requirement holds even for outdoor displays used for events or promotions.

To improve visibility in sunlight, some general guidelines are that a sun-readable display should be bright enough to be clearly visible under di­rect sunlight. Its display contrast ratio should also be high. Generally, the screen brightness is of the order of 1000 nits and the contrast ratio is at least 5:1. Plus, some technology should be used to avoid the glare.

Some companies use the combina­tion of a standard display, an enhance­ment film applied on the internal screen to optimize brightness and contrast, and a polarizing film applied on both sides of the touch screen to minimize reflection. The anti-reflective coated protection glass mini­mizes the mirror image and maximizes transmittance, while the anti-glare coated protection glass scatters light directed on the surface and softens the image of direct light sources.

Pixel Qi's transflective technology is one such tech­nology worth watching. It uses a special layer that acts like a partial mirror - part of it transmits the light while the rest of it reflects the light.

Pixel Qi's transflective technology is one such tech¬nology worth watching.

Pixel Qi's transflective technology is one such tech­nology worth watching.

One industry expert writes: "It's like a typical mirror layer found in most displays but with holes punched out in it. This allows for a composite mode where users can adjust the backlight and still see the LCD screen with reasonable brightness."

This transflective LCD is viewable under all lighting conditions including direct sunlight regardless of the LCD's original brightness. Also, because the LCD pixels are reflective, the user can turn down the brightness level and save on battery power consumption.

Tru-Vu uses optical bonding to im­prove daylight viewing on their LCDs. Optical bonding injects a transparent optical-grade epoxy resin to bond a protective glass panel directly to the face of the LCD. This eliminates the air gap between the LCD and the cover glass, drastically reducing the reflec­tions which cause the visual wash-out typically seen in bright conditions. Optical bonding also increases the du­rability of the LCD monitor by bonding the LCD panel to the cover glass and the monitor's enclosure. It also avoids fogging due to moisture trapped be­tween the layers.


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