Liquid crystal displays are manufactured on flat rigid substrates where the liquid crystals position between pixel electrodes and counter-electrodes. Flat is important, because bending produces unequal distances between electrodes. This difference results in color irregularities. Omron Corp.'s Material Development Department (part of the Electronic Components Business Company) is challenging the production limitation. Using a vacuum impregnation technique, Omron has demonstrated the ability to insert liquid crystals into a polymer film consisting of approximately 0.5-micron diameter spherical polyacrylate particles. Because the polymer network is finer than than conventional self-supported polymer/liquid crystal composite film, it allows a uniform color across a display whether the display is bent or not. Other potential applications for this capability include light-diffusion film, reflection film, and ink jet printing paper. For further details, contact Christopher_udell@omron.co.jp.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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