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News and Notes



NEWS AND NOTES

Toshiba Develops Super-Slim Flexible TFT LCD
Toshiba Corporation, Japan has developed the world's first large flexible liquid crystal display. The new display is a full color, 8.4-inch super-slim, low-temperature, polysilicon active-matrix TFT LCD supporting SVGA resolution. Flexible liquid crystal displays will allow for curved LCD screens and in the future foldable LCDs.
Applications for flexible TFT LCDs can include TVs with curved screens that can be mounted in public and information displays in trains or buses. Toshiba is now developing mass production technology for the displays. Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Corporation expects to launch commercial products after the fiscal year 2004.



MicroOptical Corporation has created innovative display eyewear that provides users with a hands-free, portable wearable connection to the Internet and other media. MicroOptical's display eyewear is comprised of a patented combination of optics, electronics and microdisplays which allow users to put text, graphics and video images continuously in their field of view. The virtual, "floating" 12-inch image created by MicroOptical's display eyewear appears with no obstruction to vision on any side of the image.
MicroOptical is developing three versions of displays that mount on and in eyewear for viewing output from portable electronic devices such as cell phones, DVD players, PDAs, PCs, and cameras. The first version is a monocular viewer, which attaches to the temple piece of a pair of eyeglasses and is designed for multi-tasking work. This version is currently available, and has many uses, including medical, mobile communications, mobile data and web access, and military applications. The second version is a binocular viewer and looks like a pair of eyeglasses; for use in consumer applications such as portable DVD viewing. In the third version, MicroOptical has integrated the display directly into a conventional eyeglass frame and lens. For more information, visit www.microoptical.net.


Minilab Supply Store Buys Loon Photographic
Minilab Supply Store has completed the purchase of Loon Photographic. The combined companies will serve 18,000 customers nationwide and offer over 4,500 different products to their customers.
"With the purchase of Loon Photographic we will be able to standardize delivery on most of our products to one or two days for all Minilab-Loon customers. Also, we will be able to offer Loon Photographic customers full lines of photographic paper and chemistry," commented Mark Johnson, president and CEO of The Johnson Group, Ltd.
Minilab Supply Store has been distributing photo lab supplies for 17 years. Minilab's parent company, The Johnson Group, Ltd., will now be comprised of four companies: Minilab Supply Store, Loon Photographic, ProLab Imaging Products, and Summit Equipment.



Photographers have become aware of an increase in the amount of photographic equipment stolen each year. Most pieces of photo equipment have little in terms of identification that is traceable to the lawful owner.
According to law enforcement agencies, "Owner Identification" is the most effective way to protect photography equipment from being stolen. In the past the only way that this was possible was to use an engraver which left unsightly marks, damaging the equipment and reducing its resale value.
Using the same principals of engraving the DataDot system has been developed. Appearing to the naked eye as dots the size of a grain of sand, each DataDot is encoded with an alpha-numerical code and is easily painted onto photography equipment without leaving any obvious marks or causing any damage. Once applied, each piece of equipment becomes traceable back to the owner even after normal forms of identification have been removed.
"DataDots have already been used to protect photography equipment around the world including antique cameras through to the Australian Broadcasting Commission who have placed DataDots onto all of their television cameras and associated equipment," said Kyle Claringbold, Identification Technologies sales manager.
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