Allen Davis, Senior Director for New Business Development at Kent Displays, held a small sample unit showing graphics in any kind of light level.
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"This is a 320 by 160 resolution display," said Davis, "and as you can see it's totally curved. Our technology lends itself to all sorts of applications that you haven't seen before."
The company has developed a paper thin, electronic skin for cell phones and mobile devices that allow consumers to change colors with the touch of a finger. The "eGo" skin uses no power to maintain any color already rendered on the surface.
Albert Green, Ph.D, CEO of Kent Displays, held a cell phone with the new eGo skin. "This unit can be made to match a woman's outfit. She can pick that color because that's what she wanted to wear that day. "We let the user decide how to personalize the unit, not the manufacturer. And we can do this with laptops and computers, MP3 players, video game controllers, stereos, toys, clocks, furniture and even jewelry."
Another hot application is the eTablet, electronic writing tablet that allows the user to write on a screen and erase everything with the bush of a button. The LCD coating called "Reflex" makes it possible for the display to be viewable at wide angles and in bright sunlight, unlike conventional LCDs.
Employee Holly Burton walked out of the clean room and pulled off her mask that was hiding a big smile. "This company is really going somewhere," said Burton. "I'm a mother of three children. You never hear of LCD tech companies making anything in the United States and I am so glad to be working close to home and helping my family grow."
Kent Displays now has a roll-to-roll machine that is capable of producing millions of plastic displays per year. The new technology allows the company to dramatically reduce the cost of manufacture and compete with overseas companies.
"I couldn't be prouder of what we've accomplished here in Kent," said co-founder J. William Doane, Ph.D. while standing outside one of the clean rooms.
The display technology of Kent Displays has its origin at the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University. In 1965 Doane came to Kent with his family to join the Physics faculty and helped form the Liquid Crystal Institute.
"Do you realize that until now, almost all of our new technology developed in Kent was leaving Ohio," said Doane. "Now we can make things right here at home."
Production on the manufacturing line at Kent Displays is expected to begin in January, 2009.