Tag Archives: Holst Centre

Clothing which turns you into a billboard

This work from a Belgian-Dutch initiative has the potential to turn us into billboards. From a Sept. 2, 2015 news item on Nanowerk,

Researchers from Holst Centre (set up by TNO and imec), imec and CMST, imec’s associated lab at Ghent University [Belgium], have demonstrated the world’s first stretchable and conformable thin-film transistor (TFT) driven LED display laminated into textiles. This paves the way to wearable displays in clothing providing users with feedback.

Here’s what it looks like,

A Sept. 2, 2015 Holst Centre press release, which originated the news item, provides more details,

“Wearable devices allow people to monitor their fitness and health so they can live full and active lives for longer. But to maximize the benefits wearables can offer, they need to be able to provide feedback on what users are doing as well as measuring it. By combining imec’s patented stretch technology with our expertise in active-matrix backplanes and integrating electronics into fabrics, we’ve taken a giant step towards that possibility,” says Edsger Smits, Senior research scientist at Holst Centre.

The conformable display is very thin and mechanically stretchable. A fine-grain version of the proven meander interconnect technology was developed by the CMST lab at Ghent University and Holst Centre to link standard (rigid) LEDs into a flexible and stretchable display. The LED displays are fabricated on a polyimide substrate and encapsulated in rubber, allowing the displays to be laminated in to textiles that can be washed. Importantly, the technology uses fabrication steps that are known to the manufacturing industry, enabling rapid industrialization.

Following an initial demonstration at the Society for Information Display’s Display Week in San Jose, USA earlier this year, Holst Centre has presented the next generation of the display at the International Meeting on Information Display (IMID) in Daegu, Korea, 18-21 August 2015. Smaller LEDs are now mounted on an amorphous indium-gallium-zinc oxide (a-IGZO) TFT backplane that employs a two-transistor and one capacitor (2T-1C) pixel engine to drive the LEDs. These second-generation displays offer higher pitch and increased, average brightness. The presentation will feature a 32×32 pixel demonstrator with a resolution of 13 pixels per inch (ppi) and average brightness above 200 candelas per square meter (cd/m2). Work is ongoing to further industrialize this technology.

There are some references for the work offered at the end of the press release but I believe they are citing their conference presentations,

9.4: Stretchable 45 × 80 RGB LED Display Using Meander Wiring Technology, Ohmae et al. SID 2015, June 2015

1.2: Rollable, Foldable and Stretchable Displays, Gelinck et al. IMID, Aug. 2015.

13.4 A conformable Active Matrix LED Display, Tripathi et al. IMID, Aug. 2015

For anyone interested in imec formerly the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre, there’s this Wikipedia entry, and in TNO (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek in Dutch), there’s this Wikipedia entry.

Intelligent tablet (pill) packaging for medication regimes

Most people who take a lot of pills/medications either own elaborate pill boxes or have their medications prepared in special blister packages so they can track their use. After an initial period of hypervigilance, it can be easy to lose track of whether or not you took your pill two hours ago.

Holst Centre (a Belgian/Dutch collaborative, independent, and open innovation R&D [research and development] centre) and Qolpac (a pharmaceutical packaging company) are developing a new, intelligent type of packaging for medications. Here’s what the July 17, 2012 news item on Nanowerk has to say about it,

Smart blisters are pharmaceutical packages capable of monitoring when a pill is taken out of its packaging. Qolpac and Holst Centre have jointly developed a technology that integrates an ultra-low-power processor and radio into a thin plastic foil that could replace the standard backing foil of a blister package. Drawing on Qolpac’s expertise in therapy adherence solutions, the two partners will further develop this technology for mass-market use. This includes finding suppliers and manufacturers capable of supporting a high-volume application.

I can certainly understand how helpful it would be to know when the pill was removed from the package (e.g., knowing a pill was removed two hours ago tells me I took it the pill at 10 am so I can now take my 12 pm pill with confidence). Still, this is one more piece of life being monitored and, sometimes, it seems as if every activity (breathing, sweating, blinking, etc.)  will be. It reminds of the koan, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it make a sound? But, I’m changing it to this:: if we start monitoring all our activities and no one is there to notice, do we really exist?