News Release: The former Hitachi Displays

October 04, 2010

Mass Production Prototype of Displays Using MEMS Shutters to Control Backlighting
- Half the energy consumption of LCDs with the same brilliant colors -

Hitachi Displays, Ltd. (President: Yoshiyuki Imoto, hereafter referred to as Hitachi Displays) has produced in conjunction with Pixtronix (Head Office: Massachusetts, US), a developer of display technologies in the United States, mass production prototype of displays using MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) shutter display technology developed by Pixtronix. This display features the high-speed opening and closing of MEMS shutters on each individual pixel to control light volume and adjust the brightness of an image. Images are displayed by the sequential switching of light from red, green, and blue LED backlights. Since this display does not require the polarizing film or color filters used in LCDs, the efficient use of backlighting is improved by approximately 10 times and energy consumption is reduced by half compared to LCDs (*), while maintaining superior color reproducibility. Hitachi Displays plans to start mass production of this newly developed display as early as possible as a next-generation display for smartphones, tablet PDAs, and digital cameras that have a strong need to reduce power consumption.

With the recent popularity of smartphones and tablet PDAs, there is an increasing need for higher quality displays with low power consumption for increased battery life, bright colors, and high-speed video playback.

In order to respond to these needs, Hitachi Displays has worked together with Pixtronix to develop and manufacture prototypes of mass production technology for a large number of tiny shutters to perform accurate mechanical operations. The prototypes that have been developed consume half the energy of LCDs, while reproducing brilliant colors that surpass LCDs. In addition, high-speed response time that surpasses that of current LCDs allows superior video playback performance even in low-temperature environments down to -20°C. When reading newspapers and other documents that do not require color, backlighting can be turned off to read in black and white using only external light reflected into the display. This setting achieves low-power consumption similar to that of electronic paper. Therefore, a single display can be used in either of two different modes to match current usage conditions. This newly developed mass production technology is highly compatible with the manufacturing processes of current LCDs, allowing the use of existing production lines. In addition to this newly developed model, Hitachi Displays will continue to increase its lineup of touch panels and other high-value added displays to meet the needs of its customers.

This jointly developed MEMS shutter display will be on display at CEATEC 2010 held at the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex from Oct. 5 to 9.

* When compared using QVGA (320 x 240 pixel resolution) 2.5-inch displays normally used in mobile telephones.

LCD and MEMS shutter display structures

Prototype specifications

Light control method MEMS shutter
Size 2.5 inches
Display mode Transmissive (color display)/semi-transmissive (black & white display)
Number of pixels QVGA (320×240 pixels)

Pixtronix company outline

Company name Pixtronix, Inc.
Company president Nesbitt W. Hagood
Head Office Massachusetts, US
Business Development of MEMS displays and licensing of related technology