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Printed Electronics World
Posted on September 2, 2004 by  & 

Electroluminescent Displays in Fossil Watches

Electroluminescent displays

There are two main ways of producing light: incandescence and luminescence. For incandescence, light is produced as a result of heat generated, such as passing an electric current through a thin wire: the resistance produces heat. Filament light bulbs are an example of this. Luminescene is the name given to light produced from causes other than temperature.
Electroluminescent displays (ELD), a form of luminescene, can be considered as a "lossy" capacitor - layers of material become electrically charged and then "loose" energy - which is radiated as light. These layers can be printed and deposited onto flexible substrates. The colors depend on the type of layers used, and have a limited spectrum, therefore EL displays are often used as backlights. Filters and separate colored segments can be used for multi coloured displays.

Watch displays

Pelikon, a Cambridge UK firm, has been working with Fossil to use their segmented EL (SEL) displays in a series of eye-catching watch face displays that feature both illumination and animation.
"Our designers have been able to work closely with Pelikon to develop the concept, taking our current range of animation watches to the next level with the addition of light-up features,"
says Shannon Washburn, Fossil's VP of Watch Product Development.
"As a company, Fossil is driven by the need to provide our customers with new and exciting products. We were immediately captivated by Pelikon's ability to use their SEL technology to deliver new watch faces incorporating features that our customers will have never experienced before,"
Washburn concludes.
The SEL display is ten times thinner than the liquid crystal display (LCD) it replaces. Sitting behind the traditional analogue hands, the SEL display shows animations at the brief touch of a button. Hold that button down, and the whole face lights at once, backlighting the hands for telling time at night. The displays runs off the 3v watch coin cell, is 0.2mm thick and sits on a flexible PET substrate.
The first collection will be available this autumn at all Fossil stores nationwide,, select department stores, jewelry stores and specialty stores, and available worldwide Spring 2005.

Innovative applications

Innovative technologies need to be imaginatively marketed. At IDTechEx we feel that printed electronics should not necesarily only replace silicon in existing products, but be applied in applications where silicon cannot go and create new markets. The biggest market for printed electronics may not even have been thought of yet. This case study represents an excellent example of using these technologies to enhance products. Lots more of these please.
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