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Start-up spotlight: Liquid Fiber Displays

28 Nov 2007

A new display technology from a Canadian start-up produces high-resolution indoor LED displays that are brighter, cheaper and more reliable.

What is Liquid Fiber Display's (LFD) core technology?
"Our technology focuses on the combination of optical fibers, liquid crystal technology and LEDs, and using their properties to produce high-resolution indoor LED displays," Nimesh Bahl, co-founder of LFD, explained to optics.org. "It's a combination of novel fabrication and mounting techniques along with unique software technologies."

The company, spun out of research at Canada's McMaster University, has combined current LCD and LED display sign technology with a uniquely woven optical fiber array. The hair-thin fibers can replace over 90% of the blue, green and red LEDs required by conventional LED displays.

LFD's digital signs are assembled from four-inch light modules, stacked in square panels of four units each. The technology features "invisible tiling", making the lines between tiles less visible. The result is a sign ideally suited to any indoor public space where signage is used.

"It's a significant advance from current electronic sign technology," said Adrian Kitai, the McMaster professor who developed the technology. "It allows higher resolution capability than any LED screen on the market, high brightness and reliability, along with low power consumption and cost."

What products does LFD sell?
"LFD will sell signage solutions using our display platform," Bahl told optics.org. "We will partner with signage software developers and content providers, and are currently in talks with certain players."

What were the origins of the company?
"The technology was developed by Adrian Kitai of McMaster as an answer to a genuine need in the signage industry," said Bahl. "There were no technologies that could convincingly deliver a high-resolution LED display with pixel pitch less than 4 mm that was bright, reliable and affordable."

What are your future plans?
LFD aims to start regular production by the end of 2008. In the meantime a prototype has been installed at McMaster's Student Center, measuring 13 x 70 inches. The 480 x 90 pixel animated electronic sign displays text and graphics and is used for promotions and announcements.

A new prototype is now being built following feedback from signage operators, which will feature increased brightness and resolution based on a 3.5 mm pitch.

"We've proven the technology works and is the best available," said Bahl. "No further research is required, just product design and production."

Quick facts
Funding: LFD is jointly owned by Kitai, Bahl and Cristian Nunez, who developed the enterprise through the Xerox Center for Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation at McMaster. The company received an award of $117,000 from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, along with funding from other sources.

Liquid Fiber Displays
Xerox Center for Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
1280 Main Street West - ITB 102
Hamilton L8S 4L7

Telephone: + 1 (905) 962 8112
Email: info@liquidfiberdisplays.com
Web: www.liquidfiberdisplays.com

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