A bio-inspired electronic film debuts at the world’s leading display exhibition
Reactions, industry trends, and devices of the future as seen at Touch Taiwan 2021.
By Francesco Lemmi
Hyaline Z2 made its world debut at Touch Taiwan 2021 this week, introducing leaders of the electronic display industry to a new kind of material for tomorrow’s devices.
If you want to glimpse the future of electronic displays, Touch Taiwan is the place to be.
I was there representing Zymergen and Hyaline Z2, our bio-inspired electronics film, making our debut at the world’s leading exhibition for global display manufacturers. Zymergen and almost 300 other industry leaders showcased the latest innovations and services in this fast-moving industry — one that finds its way into many of our lives as phones, tablets, TVs, and other high-tech displays.
Most of us consumers wouldn’t recognize the big names that manufacture our electronic displays, such as AU Optronics, Innolux, Ennostar, E Ink, and PlayNitride. Yet these are the companies that are building your future display screen, with companies like Zymergen supplying the technology and pushing the innovation envelope. At Touch Taiwan, I shared Hyaline Z2’s breakthrough qualities with many of these industry leaders.
A breakthrough film family, inspired by nature
In my previous Hyaline blog, I discuss the film’s properties and just how wonderfully complex your phone’s multi-layer touch screen is. In a nutshell, Hyaline Z2 is an ideal material for the layer that responds to your touch inputs. Its exceptional transparency offers brighter, clearer displays and potentially longer battery life.
I also shared how Hyaline Z2 is ideal as a phone screen backplate, the screen support layer in front of the front-facing camera. Its clarity could allow the front-facing camera to point out through the screen, so there’s no more notch in your display.
I also gave a sneak peek at the next two films in the Hyaline family, ZYM0101 and ZYM0107, which offer exceptional properties for folding screens and micro- and mini-LED displays.
The Zymergen booth at Touch Taiwan offered the opportunity to see Hyaline Z2 film up-close and interact with prototype devices
On the exhibition floor
At our booth, we shared a large (1.3m wide) roll of Hyaline Z2, and a smaller roll of Hyaline Z2 coated with silver nanowires on both sides, as you might find on a touch sensor layer. We also featured a curved touch panel demo, which allowed people to run their fingers over the display and see the effect. Finally, we had two OLED signs with Zymergen’s logo “Z” in red and green colors, using Z2 as a cover film.
For all three days, we had constant, high activity at our booth, with lots of people coming to visit, asking us questions, and showing a lot of interest in Zymergen and in our Hyaline products. Lots of follow-up meetings!
My presentation was also well received, and after the talk I was bombarded with lots of good questions. The Zymergen story seemed to resonate very well with the audience.
Trends in the electronic display industry
For a sense of the kinds of devices you might see from major manufacturers in the not-too-distant future, here are a few trends I saw at Touch Taiwan:
MicroLED: The dominant theme in Taiwan was definitely MicroLEDs, which in recent years has become a buzzword in the tech and TV community. Considered a step above OLED, MicroLED promises perfect blacks, excellent color, and near-perfect off-angle viewing. Transparent MicroLEDS could be used in the automotive industry to make “smart windows” (think of heads-up windshield displays and digital screens on bus windows). MicroLED displays require display layers with higher temperature tolerances, like ZYM0107.
Folding, curved, and flexible displays: It seems almost like science fiction, but one day in the foreseeable future, you may be able to take your phone out of your pocket and unfold it to the size of a tablet. There are some early prototypes of rollable screens. Both Hyaline Z2 and ZYM0101 could be ideal for such devices.
Digital manufacturing: The concept of digital manufacturing is trending within the industry, driven by innovations in semiconductors, optoelectronics, smart production, automation, robots, materials and components, machine vision, and electronics manufacturing equipment. Some large companies are involved in developing digital manufacturing centers to enhance the manufacturing process, including product and supply chain operations and a greater degree of connectedness on the manufacturing floor. Think IOT on steroids. Digital manufacturing isn’t limited to electronics; the systems and methodologies are making their way to many industries.
The future is bright, clear, and naturally inspired
Touch Taiwan was a wonderful introduction of Hyaline to the world’s leading display manufacturers. Inspired by biology to deliver premier properties, Hyaline films aim to free those manufacturers from the limits of traditional petrochemical materials. In turn, they can design a new generation of devices for you and me, including foldable screens, next-generation LED displays, and more.
Francesco Lemmi is Program Director of Films at Zymergen. His experience in business development and technology is helping to guide the portfolio development for the Hyaline family of products. Prior to Zymergen, Francesco served as Business Development Director for Flexible Display materials at DuPont. Francesco also held several other technical management positions in various companies both in the display and solar technology spaces. He has over 40 patents/applications and over 60 international papers.