PE Companies Showcase Latest Offerings During CES 2013

By virtually any metric that can be used, the International Consumer Electronics Show is a major event for the electronics industry. Held this year in Las Vegas, NV from Jan. 8-11, some amazing products made their debuts, from Ultra HD home TVs and ultra-fast gaming systems to the latest in computer and tablet technology.

Ascent Solar debuted its Surfr portable solar charger for the Samsung Galaxy S III.
All told, more than 150,000 attendees walked through the 1.92 million square feet of exhibition space, with more than 3,200 exhibitors launching nearly 20,000 new products. Then there were the keynote talks, most notably Samsung’s, which featured former U.S. President Bill Clinton giving a 20-minute talk on the importance of mobile technology.

This is a huge show, and interestingly, a few of the printed and flexible electronics products were among those that debuted at CES 2013. For example, Samsung showcased Youm, its flexible OLED displays made from plastic. Samsung is working with a number of OLED innovators in the PE field - the company acquired Liquavista, and has strategic agreements in place with Universal Display, Novaled, Nanosys and Evident Terchnologies, among others - and anticipates putting its rollable and bendable displays into devices by 2014.

The printed electronics industry was represented, with quite a few companies showcasing their latest innovations.

Plastic Logic, Intel and Queen’s University showcased a flexible paper computer developed at Queen’s University that they believe will revolutionize the way people work with tablets and computers. The PaperTab tablet looks and feels just like a sheet of paper. However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7” plastic display developed by Plastic Logic, a flexible touchscreen, and powered by the second generation Intel Core i5 Processor.

Instead of using several apps or windows on a single display, users have 10 or more interactive displays or PaperTabs, one per app in use. A user can send a photo by tapping one PaperTab showing a draft email with another PaperTab showing the photo. Attendees were intrigued by the possibilities.

“We were delighted with the reception Plastic Logic’s flexible plastic display technology received at this year’s CES,” said Rachel Lichten, business communications manager for Plastic Logic GmbH. “Both the press and our partners, as well as the potential customers we met with, were very impressed by the concept designs we had on show, demonstrating the revolutionary form factors enabled by our ultra-thin, ultra-lightweight and unbreakable displays.”

Ascent Solar, a specialist in flexible, lightweight CIGS solar modules, has developed its EnerPlex series of portable solar chargers for the leading cell phones. At CES, Ascent Solar launched its Kickr and Jumpr outdoor chargers and Surfr phone chargers, whch drew the interest of attendees.

“At CES, the customer response to our products was fantastic,” said Rob Roche, Ascent Solar's vice president, sales, marketing and communications. ”They were surprised by the outstanding toughness of our outdoor 5 watt portable solar charger known as the Kickr. And they realized that when bundled with our Jumpr rechargeable battery products, outdoor enthusiasts and workers can enjoy power around the clock.

“Customers also warmly welcomed the newest sleek edition to our Surfr line of solar and battery integrated phone cases,” Roche added. “The new Surfr Model SCS2100 for the Samsung Galaxy S III delivers the four in one value proposition of phone protection, battery life extension, solar emergency power and all in a lightweight, slim case.”

During CES 2013, QD Vision launched Color IQ, the world’s first high volume Quantum Dot product for LCD televisions. This enables the next generation of LCD televisions, monitors and other display products to deliver more lifelike, brilliant colors. The first customer for Color IQ is Sony’s Bravia LCD televisions.

“Color IQ is an industry game changer. QD Vision is honored to go to market first with Sony, a long established leader in TV and display industries," said QD Vision CEO Jason Carlson. "Color IQ completely changes the LCD television viewing experience by immersing the user in all the brilliant colors the world has to offer.”

"By integrating QD Vision's ‘Color IQ’ optical component with Sony's unique display technologies, our Bravia television sets achieve significantly wider color gamut, that provides a far more natural and vivid viewing experience," said Masashi Imamura, president, Home Entertainment and Sound Business Group, of Sony.

Cambrios has been receiving a lot of attention with its ClearOhm material, which is appearing in a number of consumer products. Rahul Gupta, Cambrios’ senior director of business development, noted that many new touch-based PC products are being introduced, and that Cambrios’ ClearOhm material is making big strides in the large-area touch space.

“ClearOhm material is being used in several large-area touch products,” Gupta added.

Gupta noted that LG Electronics included Cambrios’ ClearOhm coating material in its V325 Windows 8-certified All-in-One PC, as well as in its new Touch 10 ET83 and ET63 touchscreen monitors, which are optimized for Windows 8 and offer full 10-point touch capability in a 23” touchscreen LCD computer monitor. LG Electronics showcased the LG ET63 monitor at CES.

GVision, a leading Taiwan-based manufacturer of LCD displays, is developing new Integrated Touchscreen LCD displays enabled by Cambrios’ ClearOhm coating material. The first new product is GVision’s L15AX POS display, which Cambrios showcased at CES. This display will be commercially available in Q1 2013.

Gupta said that Cambrios continues to expand its production-ready supply chain. Its most recent partners include eTurboTouch, a Taiwan-based developer and manufacturer of mid- to large-size (7” – 27”) touch sensors, controllers and drivers/firmware, which will develop advanced ClearOhm-based touch sensors to be incorporated into larger consumer devices, such as Ultrabooks and All-in-One computers. Cambrios showcased a touch module utilizing eTurboTouch touch sensors at CES.

CN Innovations (CNI), a major supplier of touch sensors to top ODMs and OEMs, will use its proprietary laser patterning equipment to manufacture touch sensors using Cambrios’ ClearOhm material for phones, tablets, Ultrabooks and All-In-One computers starting in the first quarter of 2013. Cambrios showcased Ultrabook-sized touch sensors made by CNI at CES.

Okura, a worldwide supplier of high-quality optical films, is creating high-performance, transparent conductive films based on Cambrios’ ClearOhm coating material. Okura showed its ClearOhm-enabled film at CEATEC.

Shin-Etsu, a sensor-maker, has partnered with Cambrios to create ClearOhm-based large area touch sensors for Ultrabooks and tablet computers. Shin-Etsu has begun pilot production of touch sensors for tablets and Ultrabooks ranging in size from 7” to 15.6”, and also plans to develop touch sensors for the automotive market using ClearOhm material.

Additional applications for ClearOhm transparent coating material include flexible displays and OLEDs, both of which are rapidly developing markets. Outside of th Youm display by Samsung and Plastic Logic’s eforts, Gupta reported that Panasonic demonstrated a 56-inch OLED TV at CES that is only half an inch thick and is manufactured using 3D printing.

“3D printing technology should eventually reduce costs of high resolution OLED TV’s, and ClearOhm material is useful for this type of printing,” Gupta said.