Society for Information Display News November/December 2016 Issue 6 Society for Information Display News November/December 2016 Issue 6

Nominate the Year’s Best Display Products Now

The Display Industry Awards are our industry’s most prestigious honor, given annually by the Society for Information Display to recognize the year’s best new display products or applications.  Information Display urges its readers to get involved in the process:  If you have seen or used a new display product this year that you really like, let the rest of the industry know by nominating it for a Display Industry Award.  There are three Awards categories: Display of the Year, Display Application of the Year, and Display Component of the Year.  Winners are selected by the Display Industry Awards Committee based on nominations from SID members and non-members alike, and the awards are announced and presented at Display Week.  Winning a DIA not only tells a company that it is doing a great job – it helps build brand recognition both inside and outside the industry.

To nominate a product, component, or application that was commercially available in 2016, send an e-mail titled DIA 2017 Nomination to  The Display Awards Committee will review your suggestion.

If your favorite products happen to be your own company’s products, you can and should nominate them yourself. Visit, download the appropriate nomination form, complete it entirely (including supporting documentation), and send it to by December 30, 2016.

Free-Form Displays Proliferate at Vehicle Displays Symposium in Michigan

by Ken Werner

The Society for Information Display’s Metropolitan Detroit Chapter sponsored its 23rd Annual Symposium on Vehicle Displays in Livonia, Michigan, on September 27 and 28.  This year’s edition was called “Vehicle Displays and Interfaces 2016.”

Attendance jumped to 400 people, up from 300 last year, and the organizers found a new venue, the Burton Manor Conference Center, to accommodate the attendees, in addition to the 60 exhibitors that included many Tier 1 suppliers.  The conference sponsors were Denso, Continental, Yazaki, Radiant Vision Systems, Sharp, Visteon, and Tianma NLT USA.

Among the highlights of the exhibition was Varitronix, the industrial display company purchased by BOE in May of this year.  Varitronix will be the automotive displays division of BOE, said the company’s Engineering Manager Kenny Kwok.  Varitronix was showing a-Si based LCDs in Detroit, but is also working on OLED and LTPS, which should be ready for Display Week this coming May in Los Angeles, said Kwok.

Of most interest in the Varitronix booth were what the industry is calling “free-form” displays.  Varitronix showed two round displays, one of which (Fig. 1) is currently used in the Nissan Leaf, according to Kwok.  In addition, there was a demonstration instrument-cluster display with a camel-backed contour similar to displays Sharp has shown in the past.

Fig. 1:  This Varitronix circular LCD is used in the Nissan Leaf battery electric car.  (Photo courtesy Ken Werner)

When asked if Varitronix was making its free-form displays with a “Sharp-like” technology, the answer from the company was a somewhat vague affirmative.  In response to a question about whether there were any IP conflicts between Sharp’s and Varitronix’s free-form displays, Sharp’s Greg Milne replied no, that Varitronix uses a technology different from the IGZO and distributed gate drivers that Sharp uses.

Sharp had several free-form examples in its booth, all of which were shown at Display Week 2016.  Milne explained that Sharp has customers for free-form as well and that we will see Sharp free-form displays in cars “in a couple of years.”  With its IGZO and distributed gate drivers, Sharp is technologically advanced in this game, but it is significant that a second supplier is participating in the free-form arena and with a different approach.  The speedy – at least in the automotive context – adoption of free-form displays can only be enhanced by having more than one available supplier.

Ken Werner is Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, specializing in the display industry, manufacturing, technology, and applications, including mobile devices and television.  You can reach him at

SID Creates New Prize for Researchers Under 40

Starting in 2017, a new prize is being added to the roster of the Society for Information Display Honors and Awards.  The Peter Brody Prize will join ranks with the Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize, the Jan Rajchman Prize, and other prestigious awards that SID bestows each year to outstanding individuals in the field of displays.  The Peter Brody Prize (named after the physicist who invented active-matrix TFT display technology) was developed to honor the outstanding contributions of young (under age 40) researchers who have made major contributions to the development of active-matrix addressed displays.  Specific areas under consideration are:

• Thin-film transistor devices
• Active-matrix addressing techniques
• Active-matrix device manufacturing
• Active-matrix display media
• Active-matrix display enabling components

The prize was established with a generous donation from Dr. Fang-Chen Luo and will be awarded by the Board of Directors acting on the recommendation of the Honors and Awards Committee.  It carries a stipend of US $2000.  The 2017 Honors and Awards recipients will be announced in the March/April 2017 issue of Information Display, and the winners will be honored in a ceremony during Display Week 2017 in Los Angeles.  •