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Monday, June 15, 2009

New LCD technology for dramatically lower power

Sharp has developed a new LCD screen that is claims reduces power consumption by 130 times by adding memory to the column drivers.
The Memory LCD black and white screen is based on the company's proprietary Continuous Grain Silicon technology. Each pixel is equipped with memory circuitry to save the image information uploaded to the display so the image information has to be rewritten only in the pixels whereas the content has changed in comparison to the previous picture frame.
With common LCDs the microcontroller has to rewrite the complete screen content from frame to frame at a rate of 50 to 60 Hz even though most of the image content remains the same. The 1.35in Memory LCD consumes about 15 µW in operation whereas a standard LCD of comparable size needs about 2 mW to render an image.
This new type of LCD als does not need polarisers, as it uses a special liquid crystal material where the image is generated by the status of the pixel just changing from black to white with a reflectivity of 50%.
Due to the low power consumption, small solar cells can provide enough electricity to drive Memory LCDs. The new type of display is therefore an ideal solution for small size portable applications such as wrist watches, pulse meter and other fitness devices, price tags, etc. Such systems can even be designed as no-battery applications using solar cells as power supply.

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