Announcement: Human Augmentation—New Technology Area

Explorer introduces a new technology area: Human Augmentation. Emerging human-augmentation technologies will aid healthy people as well as people with reduced abilities, and are poised to be highly disruptive across society and many industries—but their use will raise many questions over how the law, regulations, and ethics should apply. Read more



Before January 2016, the Electronic Displays technology area was Flat-Panel Displays.

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About This Technology

Electronic displays are ubiquitous and form an essential part of the modern world. Well over 1 billion people use online social-networking sites, which they ostensibly access using a device with an electronic display. Liquid-crystal-display technology has become the dominant choice for televisions and computer monitors and has enabled the rapid development of lightweight portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices. Few competitive technologies exist, but organic-LED-display technology is commercially viable in small devices and premium televisions. Niche and emerging display technologies include quantum-dot LED displays, micromirror projectors, and head-mounted microdisplays for augmented and virtual reality.

Use of electronic displays has spread across multiple industries, thanks to their thin profiles, low energy consumption, and portability. For example, one of the foremost applications for electronic-display technology is the television. Modern technology enables manufacturers to create televisions that are thin and lightweight. Also, the demand for ever-larger televisions has helped to drive down production costs, because the capacity to produce one large glass panel can also cheaply produce several smaller ones. Electronic displays are prevalent in many areas, to the extent that hundreds of millions of people now carry smartphones with them each day. The dominance of relatively inexpensive-to-produce displays has led to rapidly increasing sales of tablet computers with street prices of less than $100. In addition, electronic displays are partly responsible for enabling computing in parts of society traditionally frozen out because of previously high display costs.

The increasing adoption of OLED displays by mobile-handset and handheld-device manufacturers will help to push technology development forward, leading to more affordable large-area OLED displays. In addition, the emergence of e-paper displays in applications such as electronic signage, smart cards, retail-counter tags, electronic-document readers, and other paper replacements adds to the diversity and will be a boost for the overall display industry. These developments, along with complementary research into fundamental display electronics, will ensure that electronic displays continue to be a familiar and important part of people's business, entertainment, and daily lives.