Weaving electronic webs

Why use complicated processing techniques to manufacture your display screens when you can simply weave them? This is the approach taken by R&D company Visson, which has just received $5.5 million of investment from Philips to develop a display screen that looks, feels and is manufactured like cloth.

The threads used to fabricate this new technology are conductive wires with a light-emitting coating made from very thin electro-luminescent material. The two-dimensional structure of the woven fibres forms an X- matrix system of electrodes, and electroluminescent emission at every cross section of X and Y fibres is caused by applying an electric voltage to the corresponding wires.

Three types of fibres – red, green, and blue, are used in the process of weaving to produce a colour display, which is driven by standard electronic circuits.Visson says that the technology has a number of advantages over LCD and CRT technologies: it is thin (less than 0.2mm) and lightweight, has a high viewing angle, and is flexible and foldable.

The company says that the low cost of the technology will lead to its use in a variety of applications. According to Mr. Lev Zaidenberg, Chairman and Founder of Visson, ‘our technology is very cheap. The production cost is approximately $10 per square meter and it’s unlimited in size. So the first market we’re targeting are very large displays such as billboards, road signs, or things that could be decorations.’

Eventually, the company envisages the technology being used in mobile and wireless devices, PDAs and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Commenting on Philips’ investment in Visson, Hafiz Haq, senior vice president of business development for Philips Components said, ‘Flexible displays will deliver significant new product possibilities, enabling our OEM customers to create enjoyable and productive applications for the end consumer. Our joint development effort will leverage our complementary technologies, and make flexible displays a commercial reality in the shortest possible timeframe.’

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