With eye on health, AU Optronics boosts R&D prowess

AU Optronics will up its R&D staff by 50 percent through the purchase of a rival, adding to teams already improving picture quality.

AU Optronics, the world's third largest LCD (liquid crystal display) screen maker, will increase by half-again the number of research and development engineers it currently staffs through the purchase of rival Quanta Display, and add them to scores of workers already engaged in improving picture quality and keeping user's eyes healthy.

The company currently employs 1,000 engineers to develop electronic screens with more vibrant colors and sharper images, and it will add another 500 such engineers from Quanta once the acquisition has been completed, said CT Liu, vice president of AU Optronics' technology center, in an interview with IDG News Service in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Earlier this month, AU announced the US$2.2 billion deal, which will transform AU from a distant threat to its main competitors in South Korea to one of the LCD industry's largest companies. The transaction is expected to close later this year.

The researchers from Quanta will be added to teams of AU engineers already hard at work on a range of visual technologies and production techniques, including LED (light emitting diodes) and OLED (organic light emitting diodes) displays, and more importantly, on improving image processing and color science.

"To most consumers, it doesn't matter if its OLED or LED," Liu said. "What's more important is picture quality."

The search for the perfect picture has led researchers down dozens of paths, but what actually ends up on store shelves usually comes down to picture quality plus cost considerations. How much will users pay for the best possible picture?

The answer usually depends on how important vivid pictures are to the user. For example, LED backlights for LCD screens greatly increase color saturation and the vividness of a picture. The improved quality has specialists such as designers or people who do simulation work on their PCs demanding LED backlights in larger sized LCD screens, even 23-inch to 32-inch. But they pay for the boost in quality, usually double or triple the cost of a regular LCD-TV of the same size, according to Liu.

More important to picture quality than the type of screen is image processing and color science, Liu said. Image processing includes ensuring the liquid crystal responds fast enough to image changes, enhancing the signal and improving light sources for more vivid colors.

Building devices to enhance viewing pleasure also involves paying careful attention to the human eye. The flicker of a CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitor does more damage to the eyes than LCD screens for users working long days on a PC. But even though LCDs offer an improvement, researchers continue to seek ways to reduce wear and tear on the eyes.

Brightness can also be a problem for eye heath, Liu said. The picture of an LCD-TV, or any TV, is brighter because it makes the overall picture nicer for viewing movies and sitcoms. But it's more damaging to the eye, which is why desktop monitors and laptop screens aren't as bright.

Although AU doesn't actually employ any eye specialists, it does hire consultants and experts to give talks to its research engineers. And the company keeps information about eye health on hand for reference.

"We are making a device that is a visual device," Liu said. "We can't afford not to learn about [the eye]."

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?