Newer display technologies continue to evolve, in synchronism with
modern-day convergence devices and systems. However, the general awareness and
knowledge about display systems are on a lower level, compared to the hype of related
developments in the convergence arena. A concerted port is needed by the diverse fields
to develop effective, efficient, and economical display systems.
WHAT ARE DISPLAY SYSTEMS?
Display systems are the focal point of any human-machine interface.
Applications range from digital watches, finger tops, palmtops, laptops, mobile phones,
digital cameras, PC monitors, and TV’s to public scale hoardings and air-base displays.
Related innovations have enabled display systems to synchronize the corresponding
advances in micro electronics, IT, and telecommunication fields. The role of electronic
displays is becoming increasingly crucial consumer electronics, office automation,
information processing, entertainment, intelligent offices/homes, interactive services,
teleshopping/conferences, trade-fairs/exhibitions, etc.
Display techniques form an essential component of any industry, be it any
manufacturing, process control, education, advertising/marketing, automobile, chemical
electronic, nuclear, publicity, public information, or any other area can conceptualize.
Trade shows, executions, seminars, etc effectively use electronic displays to highlight
their product innovations. Thousands of visitors stroll through the exhibit halls, of which
most flock around those booths that offer moving-image display.
Display form a crucial link in the functioning of convergence systems.
Product manufacturers can easily capitalize on these systems. All it takes is a little more
bragging on their part.
TECHNIQUE BEHIND DISPLAY SYSTEMS:
Electronic devices convert electronic signal information to specific
locations on display screens. Each location must adjust to the requisite brightness and
colour for that portion of the image. Display systems use a wide range of modalities
categorized mainly into direct view and projection systems. Direct view systems enable
the users to view the display screen directly. Projection systems first create the image on
an internal screen, subsequently using optical devices to magnify and project images onto
a larger external screen.
These displays can also be classified as light-emitting and non-light-
emitting devices. Light-emitting devices include cathode-ray tubes (CRT’s),
electroluminescent (EL), plasma display panels (PDP’s), vacuum fluorescent displays
(VFD’s), field-emission displays (FED’s), and light-emitting diodes (LED’s). Non-light-
emitting displays include liquid crystal displays (LCD’s) and electro chromic displays
A sampled interaction with the display industry reveals interesting aspects
about this seemingly innocuous and taken-for-granted field.
S.K.Garg, president, Super-Vu International, a leading domestic player
and exporter, emphasizes that the display technology is changing very fast. Obsolescence
is very fast. For instance multimedia data projectors marketed by Indian companies get
outdated in only 3 to 6 months. An SVGA model is outdated in six months, since it can
be upgraded using technology available, Plasma displays, developed by America and
Japan, are expensive. These support only VGA video inputs, and cost Rs. 5,50,000 per
unit. Super Vu has developed a 114cm Plasma Vision display system that costs only Rs
75,000. This simple system integrates flexibility of up gradation and transportation.
India is a vast untapped market for display systems. Mr.Garg is of the
opinion that, both in terms of quality and cost, we can complete with imported versions.
We have the capability to design and manufacture large video walls at half the cost of
imported models. The company has a development facility to design and fabricate
sophisticated optical systems for any application. Based on the feedback and
techoeconomic requirement, display systems have been developed for various
‘Plasma Vision’ (compact, portable rear-projection monitor), ‘Display
Vision’ (standalone large-screen, rear-projection monitor), ‘Movision’ (portable,
powerful, high-resolution display), ‘Media Vision’ (large-screen interactive multimedia
presentation tool), and ‘Video wall / Video cube’ (large screen display) are some display
products that have good demand in the domestic and global markets. Applications
include showrooms, corporate presentations, simulators, command and control centers,
large drawing-rooms, halls, exhibitions, heavy-traffic public places, and training sessions.
There are few Indian companies with the requisite infrastructure to design
and develop, or even assemble, a complete range of projection systems. R.D. Vaghela,
CEO, Infra Control Systems, reveals that the trend worldwide is to use smart display
systems that can be activated by pager networks at specified time for advertisement
booking time-slots. In European countries displays depict news flash of important events,
weather information, etc.
These are used in factories for production data analysis and display of MIS
(Managerial Information Systems) information pertaining to number of parts to be
produced per day, actual production, and rejected parts. In the assembly line, time taken
by technicians in each zone is displayed. If it is longer than the stipulated time, reason for
the efficiency or any mechanical problem of the assembly is found and rectified.
Common usage areas include stock and commodity exchange update, manufacturing /
warehouse data management and employee and safety communications in large facilities.
Corporates use displays with RS48 interface, enabling 255 displays to be
attached to one computer. Centralized computers transfer data to various locations,
according to ID number given to each display. Same message can transmitted to all
displays in emergent situations. Displays can accept pager situation data. Display
messages can be entered by wireless remote control keyboard, computers using
dedicated software, and paging date receivers.
Personal priority display (PPD) is popular abroad. Specifically designed
for high-priority desktop messages, it communicates critical, time sensitive information
to workstations. It is statically placed inside helpdesks in customer service workstations /
cells, office and lobbies, so that critical data is immediately and easily available.
In India, displays are mainly use passing general and online information.
Power utility companies display online production data and related crucial parameters.
Mr.Vaghela explains that Indian industry is installing silent message displays and
studying their impact on viewers. Displays are ideal communication tools.
Jayant Shah, partner, Automobile Industries, leading manufacturer
electronic displays, feels that there is need to increase public awareness usage of this
technology. Since 1999 electronic displays have been a vital display communication
media over the world. Automotive Industries has developed innovative LED displays,
signs and calendar clocks.
Indian electronic display industry is growing. Industries use displays for
production and safety signs. Displays on roadways communicate civic messages and
advertisements. Sunil Shah, partner, Jaydeep Industrial Corp., reveals that companies
prefer to install LED displays that are more economical than LCD and plasma, Mr.Shah
laments that the sales of display products are affected by high sales tax. As more
corporates and government organizations are using display systems, there is a scope for
growth. The display industry should take care to develop quality products, to sustain this
Touch systems as GUI(graphical-user interface) devices for computers
continue to grow in popularity. For many applications such as ATMs POS (Point-of-
sales) systems, industrial controls, and handheld computers, touch screens are an essential
user interface, not just a keyboard alternative.
The touch system comprises touch sensor (to receive the touch input),
electronic controller (to read and translate the sensor input into a conventional bus
protocol; for example, serial USB), software driver (to convert the bus information to
cursor action), and system utilities, Vacuum-deposited transparent conductors serve as
the primary sensing element in both capacitive and resistive touch sensors- the two most
common touch sensors.
Touch systems using resistive sensors account for 56 per cent of the touch
market, with 43 per cent going to high volume consumer applications. These
applications predominantly utilize ‘pen input’; for example, PDAs. Premium
applications, such as retail POS, or those where glove input is most frequent, such as
medical and clean-room displays, make up the balance of the resistive market.
Capacitive touch systems account for 25 per cent of the global touch
market sales. Known for their durability, reliability, and fast response, those sensors
service public-access touch-screen applications, such as information kiosks, ATMs, and
casino gaming. These systems activate with either human finger touch or an electrically
active tethered pen.
Touch systems represent a rapidly growing subset of the display market.
Palas Software and Micro touch, USA, have pioneered usage of state-of-the-art ‘Micro
touch’ screens in India. Micro touch, Boston, is a world leader in touch technology. Its
patented ‘ClearTek’ touch-screen is sensitive. It registers the lightest touch, with high
resolution, and requires the shortest touch contact. It is the only technology unaffected by
dust in the world, which makes it ideal for Indian conditions.
Other touch-screen innovations include intelligent pen-and-touch input
with ‘TouchPen’, ‘Tek resistive’, and ‘Thru Glass’ systems. Use of touch-screen
installations is increasing in India. Applications include games / entertainment,
industrial / medical instrumentation, financial trading, ATMs, POS terminals, retailing
kiosks, multimedia kiosks, etc.
Micro Touch has a major share of the global touch-screen market. Rajiv
Srivastava, director, Palas Software and Micro touch India, predicts touch screens will be
the future input interface for computerized systems. The worlds over these systems are
being utilized as user friendly interfaces, obviating the need for computer and keyboard
skills. In the Indian context, people with low literacy levels can benefit from the system.
Public information systems, such as railways, use these systems for
booking offices. Travelers can confirm reservation by touching the ‘PNR number’
location on the screen. Even illiterates can use and benefit from the system. Touch screen
can be sued for accessing information in any language. Bill Gates, chairman, Microsoft,
predicts that it will emerge as a vital computer interface.
‘ClearTek’ touch-screen uses analogue capacitive technology- the only touch
technology based on sensing electrical signals. It has a resolution of 1024 x 1024 touch
points. The controller averages the entire area of finger contact to a single point, giving
users pixel by pixel control.
ClearTek also provides the fastest response of any touch-screen, with a
minimum touch contact requirement of 3 cms. This performance offers virtually instant
response and makes it ideal for various applications, including gaming and kiosks, where
environmental robustness is a necessity. Most public access kiosks in India use ClearTek.
Thru Glass is a revolutionary concept in computer input devices, based on
a patented projected capacitive touch technology. It can detect a touch through 2.5cm
thickness of glass, plastic, or non-conductive protective materials. This versatile
technology can be used with multimedia system installed in environmentally controlled
kiosks to create vandal-proof, unattended, outdoor application.
For the rigid demands of a factory floor, Thru Glass is the perfect
solutions capable of being activated with any conductive input device including glove
hands and metal tools. Impervious to rain, snow, chemical and sunlight, brings the power
of touch into new environments.
‘TouchPen’ is a proprietary capacitive digitizer using Micro Touch’s
analogue capacitive touch technology. It is only technology that can distinguish between
touch and pen input. It works by generating a uniform low-voltage field over the sensor
and determines the touch location in the same way as the analogue capacitive screen
does. A pen location is determined when the pen injects current onto the conductive
surface. The touch contact requirement 3 cms. The response speed is 8 to 15 cms and 200
points per second in pen model.
With a resolution of 2048 x 2048 touch points, the digitizer is fast and
precise enough for signature capture, image manipulation, and annotation. It is offered as
a standard option with an analogue capacitive kits and monitors.
Shonkh Technologies has developed information kiosks with LCD/CRT
touch screens, adding power to interactivity. Basically, a kiosk is an information centre. It
can be a standalone system connected to a server, or to the Internet, enabling users to
access the information bank. Kiosks have bridged the gap between the computer-literate
and the non computer-literate individuals.
A German company has developed laser imaging technology, endowed
with best colour properties. Laser display projections obviate the need to focus the
protector to adjust for the distance between the projector and the screen. These provide
clear, non-reversed images on the screens of any size. Laser beams travel over the screen
incredibly impact, creating on it a succession of images made up of pixels and lines. The
pixel and frame rates are the same as of the common video standards.
The laser imaging method can use signals from all standard norms,
included analogue, digital, and HDTV, readies of whether these are received an aerial or
The multisync and multimedia capabilities of laser projections make them
for events, shows, exhibitions, and conference rooms. A small projection head attached to
the ceiling in a domestic living room can beam life-like video images measuring 1.5 m
(diagonal) at an angle from one of the walls of the room.
ORGANIC EL DISPLAYS:
Most flat panels in the market are LCDs. But LCDs are essentially non light-
emitting devices. This imposes technical limitations on the quality of ability they offer.
So, the display industry is forced to continue R&D efforts for displays that emit their own
light. Such displays include PDPs, FEDs, and EL displays.
Organic electroluminescence (EL) displays, in addition to emitting their
own light, provide wide viewing angles, feature a strong contrast, and deliver a quick
response speed. These possess strong characteristics in areas where LCDs are weak.
These use fluorescent organic compounds as luminescent materials.
Researchers at Tohou Pioneer Corp., Japan, experimenting with
compounds having low molecular weights, developed element technologies necessary to
create organic EL displays. They brought out an organic EL display for car radios. To
form devices made of low molecular weight compounds, vacuum evaporation techniques
are used to deposit organic compounds with different carrier transport factors between
electrodes possessing different work functions. Glass or plastic film substrates use
indium-tin oxide (ITO) as the positive electrode, with a high work function of 5.0 eV,
performing as a hole injection electrode. The EL devices basically consist of cathode (Li-
Al or Mg-Ag), electron transport layer (Alg3), emission layer with dopant (Alg3,
quinacridone, or coumarine), hole transport layer (amine-based compound), anode, and
The advanced organic EL dot-matrix device developed by the company
has green monochrome display section with 265 x 64 dots and single-matrix drive
structure. The displays have panel and drive circuit sections. The resulting display, with
superior brightness, contrast, and visibility, can be viewed at any angle. To take full
advantage of the self-emitting characteristics of EL devices, the external light is blocked,
preventing it from entering the panel and reducing contrast.
Researchers continue to seek ways of making organic LEDs more efficient
and longer lasting. They have succeeded on both counts by using new materials and by
combining materials is new ways, creating displays lasting 10,000 hours and delivering a
luminous efficiency of 12 lumens per watt.
Organic EL displays find usage in the display section of Pioneer’s vehicle
use FM teletex receivers. Demands are on the increase from manufacturers of car stereo
systems. These displays will also be supplied for various other devices, including PDAs.
LEPs are flat, wall-hanging displays that are produced using plastic layers.
These were invented by Richard Friend, University of Cambridge, in 1989. Cambridge
Display Technology (CDT) demonstrated the first LEP-based monochrome flat TV
screen in 1998.
LEPs operate on supply voltages of 3V and less, with wide viewing angles. This
light-emitting device is a layer structure deposited on a transparent substrate. The
substrate is coated with a transparent conducting layer, ITO, which is used as a hole
injector. ITO has a rough surface relative to LEP. It is coated with a conducting polymer.
The second electrode (a film of calcium over laid with another film of aluminium) is
deposited on the LEP layer, completing the sandwich structure of the device. Electrons
and holes, injected into the LEP from cathode and anode, recombine to form excitons that
radiate photons during decay. The band-gap and colour emission can be varied through
the visible light spectrum (from blue through the red).
CDT has linked up with Seiko-Epson, Philips, Hoest, Seiko, and DuPont,
to undertake development work on various aspects of LEP-based display. Philips is
introducing multi colour displays for mobile phones, while Seiko is working on a large-
area flat screen with full-colour video display.
LCD is a passive device that manipulates existing light to produce an
image, whereas active displays (CRT, plasma, and LED) emit light. Consequently, it
consumes low power and, therefore, is the preferred choice in portable and other battery-
Touch-screen LCD (TSLCD) modules incorporate drive electronics and
touch panel logic to display data, scan touch panel, sense operator inputs, and output
digital data to a control program. The touch-panel portion of LCD can be programmed to
display a variety of data, such as alphanumeric, ‘QWERTY’ keyboard, icons, and other
graphics. Touch panels use capacitive or resistive sensor technology. Increased display
luminance, increased viewing angle by using better aperture ratio, new substrates, better
backlights, etc are the current trends.
PCs equipped with thin-film transistor (TFT) LCDs were the first to be
noticed. Subsequently, TFT colour LCDs helped stimulate the widespread use of
notebook computers incorporating such displays. Advances in TFT LCD manufacturing
techniques further contributed to the spectacular spread of notebook computers. These
modules continue to develop for use as monitors for desktop computers and workstations.
These are appearing as terminal displays in banking institutions, stores, desktop
publication, and computer-aided applications.
The demand for LCD panels for use in cell phones is expected to raise
sharply after the launch of 3G mobile services, providing data and full-video
transmissions. Japanese electronic giants are beginning to produce LCD panels for use in
cellular phones, to cash in on their rapid demand fueled by 3G cellular phone services.
Toshiba, Sharp, Seiko Epson, NEC, Casio Computer, etc are some of these.
Hitachi started producing colour power-saving STN (super twisted
nematic) LCD panels for cells phones and is now developing TFT LCD panels that can
display full-motion video. The global market for TFT LCDs will continue to expand,
boosted by Philips Electronics NV and LG Electronics. The two companies formed a
successful joint venture last year, to pool their CRT activities. The venture will combine
all CRT activities and key components, as well as the glass activities and plasma
technologies of both the firms.
Invented in 1966, VFDs have been in the market for 34 years. These
versatile displays have gone through continuous improvements in their technology, and
are used in many devices and systems. Application area includes automation, telecom,
medical, home appliances, vending machines, point of sale, public information systems,
VFDs are amenable for small-size production and reused widely as chip
on-glass displays, especially for automotive applications. Super VFD tubes consume low
power and obviate the need for backlighting. Tube structures are being improved to offer
better viewing angles. Multicolour displays use modular techniques and apply strips of
The three flat-panel displays active matrix LCDs (AMLCDs), plasma-
addressed liquid crystal (PALC) display and PDPs-can be classified into light modulators
or light emitters. AMLCD and PALC displays are examples of the former, in which the
functions of light generation and light modulation are separated. Light modulation is
accomplished via a voltage-controlled change in the polarization of light passing through
a liquid crystal. A separate backlight provides the illumination. PDPs, light generation
and modulation functions are combined by mechanisms whereby variable amounts of UV
light are produced, which stimulate the phosphor to emit visible light.
The AMLCD is a mature technology, with a large manufacturing base and
established production infrastructure.
Polyster is the likely choice for future flat-panel displays. Researchers
have developed thin-film transistor displays out of polyethylene terephthalate thin,
flexible and rugged plastic can be rolled up, folded, or bent it practically any shape
The concept holds promise for a future generation of ultra-light, flexible,
cost-effective displays. Applications include notebooks, desktops, video-games,
machines, and non-conventional displays. Roll-up displays, displays set into clothing,
paper-thin electronic books, and newspapers are some of novel innovations.
Unfortunately, 3D displays have not measured up to expectations. In some
cases, viewers must wear special glasses to have their viewing system restricted.
However, improvements are in the office, with medical and business devices consisting
Splitter system is used in amusement applications, and will find more
applications as LCD price falls and picture quality improves. Double-image splitter
system is used in business applications, binoculars, and stereoscopic emission tests.
Medical field is considering the use of 38 cm display as monitors for brain surgeries and
endoscopic operations. This display uses head-tracking technology that detects the
viewer’s head and displays optical image accordingly.
‘Stereoscopic Vision’ technology for presenting 3D images incorporates
an inversion technique called modified difference. Another system computed-image
depth, effectively converts still 2D images to 3D. This system separates each subject
using colour components of the screen, and then estimates the depth of each section of
images, depending on the contrast, sharpness of each subject, and structure of the scene.
The imaging technology department at Sharp Laboratories of Europe has
developed ‘twin-LCD’ display concept. It is based on two TFT LCDs. The images of
these LCDs are superimposed by a half-mirrored beam computer. The optical
arrangement creates laterally displaced images at the nominal observer position. Each
LCD panel displays one of the stereo pair images, enabling the observer to view the
images without wearing special glasses. Twin-LCD concept, using TFT LCDs with a
controllable illumination system, has been used to show high reality auto-stereoscopic 3D
images with observer tracking over a wide angle and image look-around.
Optical fibre, widely known as a telecommunications transmission
medium, can be used for large displays in public places. Such display systems consume
relatively little power and deliver high contrast, non-glare visuals in lighted settings.
As multimedia techniques progress, the market requirement of information
displayed at public locations tends to shift from communication of data using characters
to that using images. To communicate information, the image should be large with full
colours. The multi screen method is widely used to produce a large display. A number of
display units (LCDs, CRTs, or projectors) having a certain size are assembled to form a
large-display screen. However, the drawback of these display systems is that seams are
present between the display units.
Advantages of optical fibre display systems include large seamless screen,
high design flexibility, and easy installation and movement. These are best suited for
public facilities, conference halls, ongoing games at stadia/gymnasiums, advertisements,
airports, and railway stations.
Invented in 1987 by Texas Instruments, USA, digital micro mirror display
(DMD) is a reflective optical conversion device that features bright projected image, with
high contrast, narrow beam between pixels, high resolution, and excellent colour
reproduction. It uses digital light processing (DLP) technology.
DMD is fabricated on CMOS SRAM, using micro machine technology
based on conventional 0.8 um wafer processing. This display integrates electrical,
mechanical, and optical functions on a single chip. Thousands of 16 um2
Al mirrors are
formed on a chip, at a chip, at a pitch of 17 um. The mirrors reflect light in one of two
relative to the substrate surface, depending on memory outputs.
DMD is combined with a light source and projection system. When it is applied in a DLP
optical system, light enters the DMD at 200
. In ‘on’ state, the mirror projects the light to
projection lens and the pixel projected onto the screen appears bright. In ‘off’ state, the
mirror reflects lights at 400
, missing the projection lens. The pixel then displayed is black.
The system employs binary pulse-width modulation (PWM) technology. The DMD
switches the micro-mirrors ‘on’ and ‘off’ at switching speeds of 10 us to generate bursts
of optical digital pulses that appear to the viewer as a level of brightness between fully
bright and totally dark.
DMP technology can be used in business, consumer, or
commercial applications. Business applications include front projectors for conference
room and workgroup presentations. Consumer applications include rear-and front-
The display field is vast. Newer display technologies continue to evolve,
in synchronism with modern-day convergence devices and systems however, the
general awareness and knowledge about display systems are on a lower level,
compared to the hype of related developments in the convergence arena. In order
to capitalise on displays that match modern devices, a concerted effort is needed by the
diverse fields to develop effective, efficient, and economical display systems.