Applications Abound


This month's issue of Information Display looks a bit different than most months. A typical issue features one central display-related topic, but this month's topic – Display Applications and Components – is about as broad as one can get in our industry. Depending on how fine one chose to slice up the marketplace, there are an almost infinite number of applications for displays. Practically every consumer and industrial product manufactured today has at least one display in it, sometimes several. In my home office, I count at least a dozen matrix displays on the various pieces of equipment surrounding me. We could not possibly cover even a fraction of the options in a single issue on display applications. Instead, I picked several topics that are of the most interest to me, based on projects I get involved in every day, and I hope you find them interesting as well.

Displays for medical applications have always been a somewhat obvious and very popular topic, but it had been hard for me to appreciate the added value of 3D visualization before I heard a fascinating talk last year at one of the meetings of the New England Chapter of SID given by Dr. Kenneth R. Hoffmann, Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Hoffmann opened my eyes considerably to the type of leading-edge techniques being used to analyze images from radiology and CT scans. As the innovations in 3D visualization with display hardware continue to grow, we thought it would be interesting to publish the written version of Dr. Hoffman's talk and a summary of his work. Hopefully, this article will help developers understand what their systems will be called upon to do to advance this exciting field of science.

When it comes to lighting large-area displays, a constant issue is getting the uniformity right when using arrays of CCFLs. For industrial and ruggedized applications, metal-shielded enclosures are frequently used to protect the display and help conduct heat away from the backlights. I never realized that there was a significant electrical interaction between the lamps and the metal enclosure that has a meaningful impact on the uniformity. A contributed article by Delta Power Electronics Laboratory appears this month to help explain the phenomena and offer some mitigating solutions.

Many LCD applications involve high-ambient and direct-sunlight readability requirements. Over the past few years, a significant aftermarket industry has emerged around various methods to modify or "enhance" LCD modules for sunlight readability. This industry is starting to resemble the automotive-performance market, where one can buy both components for the do-it-yourself mechanic or complete systems for those looking for a solution. I asked several friends to help me provide an overview of some of these approaches and what to expect from them. This is a very lucrative and rapidly growing business in the U.S. and Asia, serving a very large number of system integrators and OEMs.

And while the topic is applications, I would be remiss not to call your attention to the upcoming SID ADEAC 2006 conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. The above are just a few of the many topics to be covered extensively in this four-day event. This will be my last year as ADEAC Chair, and it has been an honor to be part of the team. I hope you will all help me make this year's ADEAC the biggest ever. Please see page 38 for more information.

So, while there was no end to the potential topics, I hope the ones we picked will at least entertain and enlighten a bit. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for upcoming issues.