Monday, July 28, 2008

Boston's Most Innovative Display Companies

Sunday's Globe column focused on three companies trying to bring new display technologies to market: Siftables, Vitality, and A2a Media.

Here's the video, with demos from Siftables and A2a, followed by my list of the five most innovative display companies right now in the Boston area (plus a few bonus companies).

So in addition to those three companies, each of which I think has some promise, here are the five most innovative display companies in the Boston area. How do I define innovative? Cool technology with the potential to change the world. Let me know who I missed in the comments section.

    1. E Ink: Low-power, paper-like digital displays for products like Amazon's Kindle and mobile phones.

    2. Ambient Devices: Putting Internet connected displays in unexpected places, like a refrigerator magnet or umbrella handle. Former Palm CEO Carl Yankowski was enlisted last summer to help Ambient make it big.

    3. Myvu: Will consumers wear Robocop-style glasses to watch video content from their iPod? Myvu's gonna find out.

    4. CircleTwelve: A one-man effort to commercialize the DiamondTouch table developed at Cambridge's Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs. Here's some earlier Innovation Economy coverage of CircleTwelve, and a comparison of DiamondTouch and Microsoft's Surface technology.

    5. QD Vision: Enlisting quantum dots to produce brighter displays that use less power. Here's a Technology Review article on the company.

And in the honorable mention category: Actuality Systems still sells its knock-out 3-D displays, but is repositioning itself as a medical imaging company. Emo Labs is a company built atop cool technology: integrating a display and speaker, so the audio actually comes out of the screen. But they've been having trouble gaining momentum, despite some funding from Polaris Venture Partners.

On the content side, three more companies are worthy of note.

FrameMedia is a neat Wellesley company thinking about how to deliver content to Internet-connected picture frames... and LocaModa and Aerva are both exploring ways to enliven flat-screen displays in public places with all kinds of interactive content.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would check out Pixtronics, too, as worthy of mention with that group.

July 28, 2008 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Russ Wilcox said...

Scott, thanks for the nice mention of E Ink. Another company that jumps to mind is Udi Meirav's company Luminus Devices, which makes high-brightness LED backlights for LCD-TVs among other applications. And while not strictly a display company, Color Kinetics was a local start-up that made color-changing LED lighting that could be used for architectural imaging displays; a huge success on its IPO and then sale to Philips.

July 28, 2008 12:04 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

There's another pretty cool company in Cambridge called Scalable Display ( The founders are MIT PhDs who developed a way to seemlessly blend multiple projected images into a single frame, and the applications include digital signage, large scale displays (museums, planetariums, etc), high-end 3D simulation, and possibly even consumer electronics.

July 28, 2008 5:28 PM  

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