The aim of this project is to provide three generic components, namely, a customised integrated circuit a touch input system and a Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Display (FLCD) which, when combined, will provide a FLCD subsystem i.e. a low cost, low power, module, for use in a series of information technology products. The rationale of the project is to use these products FLCDs to introduce into the commercial market place, thereby installing the infrastructure required for the future growth of this new flat panel technology. With this FLCDs in mind, the project will also seek to establish the capability for to provide analogue grey levels, because, without this capability, the use of these displays will be limited to non-video applications. Such a limitation will clearly limit the potential of this technology and, therefore, reduce the level of future investments.
In order to provide low cost, low power display modules, the project will utilise the two key advantages of ferroelectric technology, namely:
- memory: that is, the ability to retain an image with no power
- low voltage: unlike other passive LCD technology, the drive voltages required for FLCDs are independent of the number of rows.
Use of the memory capability will clearly reduce the power consumption of the display module, and hence greatly prolong battery life, while the use of low voltages will reduce both the size and cost of the integrated circuits used in the drive electronics. These two key advantages make the proposed display modules ideally suited for a wide range of new and emerging, portable, personal, IT products.
Analogue greyscale has not yet been successfully demonstrated in a (passive) FLCDs. This problem will be extensively studied through the investigation of several novel approaches to achieving analogue greyscale. In all cases it will be a prerequisite that any approach be able to provide a display at an acceptable cost.
The project will be exploited in the short term by using the low cost, low power, FLCD module in two, market-led products and by the manufacture of FLCDs for OEMs. In the medium term, the proposed generic display module will be employed in the growing number of portable IT products, while, in the long term, the provision of analogue greyscale will lead to the use of FLCDs in video products.
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