Imaging & Detector Industry Report

March 1, 2001
PFE gets capital for larger printable displays; IOS and Meicer team up on color chip; EPCC starts machine-vision program ...
PFE gets capital for larger printable displaysPrintable Field Emitters Ltd. (PFE; Didcot, England) has received £1.5 million ($2.2 million) in venture capital from Quester Capital Management Ltd. (London, England) to scale up its facilities. The company has developed a 32 x 32-pixel cold-cathode monochrome printable display: its fabrication process uses plasma-display-panel manufacturing equipment, is done without any vacuum-deposition steps, and results in a device that operates at 40 V. The improved facility will ultimately allow PFE to build full-color 15-in. flat-panel demonstration displays. Development plans include the fabrication of a 5.2-in. display by summer of this year, with the 15-in. panel—itself only a piece of a 40-in. display—to follow in the summer of 2002.IOS and Meicer team up on color chipIntelligent Optical Systems (IOS; Torrance, CA) has entered into a strategic partnership with the Meicer Group, a division of Meicer Semiconductor (Taipei, Taiwan), to manufacture and market IOS's "color chip," which combines high-speed image-capture and preprocessing technology on a single chip for very-large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits. Under the agreement, IOS retains the manufacturing and marketing rights for the VLSI technology in the United States. The resulting circuits will be built into microprocessors, memory, digital signal processors, and embedded controllers. Industrial uses include quality control for manufacturing processes, color calibration, and counterfeit security, while mass-market potential includes incorporation into household appliances.EPCC starts machine-vision programThe Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC; Edinburgh, Scotland) has launched a 3.2 million euros ($3 million) technology-transfer program in the field of integrated machine vision, to be funded by the European Commission's Information Society Technologies program. Together with Satakunta Polytechnic (Huittinen, Finland) and the CiS Institut für Microsensorik (Erfurt, Germany), the EPCC will oversee ten industrial projects that include timber sawing, the manufacture of safety glass, and quality control of food and textiles. The project, which will run until April 2003, involves research institutes as well as end users in industry, and will focus on commercial exploitation of new technology.Kodak provides capital to R2 TechnologyEastman Kodak (Rochester, NY) is among a group of investors providing $16 million to image-processing specialist R2 Technology Inc. (Los Altos, CA) to help the privately held company improve and market its software for detecting cancer. With its latest round of funding, R2 Technology has raised $60 million since its formation in May 1993. The company develops computer-aided detection software used in conjunction with mammography to find hard-to-detect cancerous lesions at their earliest stages. The tool uses neural-network technology in its processing.Panelview becomes part of White Electronics DesignsWhite Electronics Designs Corp. (WED; Phoenix, AZ) has bought Panelview Inc. (Portland, Oregon). Panelview makes flat-panel-display filters and windows, complete optically enhanced displays, and fully assembled custom display subsystems. White Electronic Designs acquired all the outstanding stock of Panelview in exchange for 905,000 shares of common stock of WED. If certain revenue and operating contribution targets are met or exceeded, the former shareholders of Panelview can earn up to $1 million in additional WED common stock, awarded in April 2002. Panelview will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of WED. The acquisition should be accretive to WED's results over the next 12 months, according to Hamid Shkrgozar, the company's chairman and chief executive officer.Also in the news . . .DRS Technologies (Parsippany, NJ) captured $40 million in US Army contracts for second-generation infrared sighting systems. . . . Displaytech Inc. (Longmont, CO) signed a deal in which Densitron Technologies (Kent, England) will serve as European distributor of Displaytech's ferroelectric liquid-crystal microdisplays. . . . CRL Opto (Hayes, England) will supply flat-panel light engines for head-up displays to Flight Visions Inc. (Sugar Grove, IL).

John Wallace

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