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by Steve Sechrist

Here in the depths of winter, we learn of a summer holiday bonus from our friends over at SID.  The group just announced a new Innovation Zone (I-Zone for short) to take place at Display Week 2012 in Boston, June 5&6.  The I-Zone exhibit area will “…provide a forum for live demonstrations of emerging information display technologies and related areas…in the main Exhibit Hall,” and here’s the kicker—it’s FREE, courtesy of Charter Sponsor E-Ink Holdings.

The goal is to offer researchers a showcase for cutting-edge demo’s and prototypes, to give a glimpse of “products of tomorrow.”  The I-Zone Committee announced its plans to the Society membership late last week.  (Disclaimer alert, I’m honored to be serving on that committee, along with an august body of the top display world “intelligencia.”)

E-Ink Holdings, known for way-cool prototypes like this one will sponsor the I-Zone at Display Week in Boston, picture credit: engadget

The group is looking for new and novel displays, input technologies (like gesture, voice etc,) and innovations in related fields such as lighting and organic electronics.  Also, technologies should be in the “pre-product” stage, and “…demos that are being shown for the first time in a public forum are particularly encouraged,” the committee reported.

What’s exciting about the concept is, exposure for little known or “under funded” projects, being offered a dedicated area on the show floor.  The hope is to highlight the best the display world has to offer from small companies, startups, universities, government labs, and independent research sites—normally with no possibility of getting this level of focused exposure in the display community or broader public awareness the show can bring.

While the space will be given away free, due to space limitations there is an application and selection process.  This includes submission of a 100 word abstract, a two-page summary describing the novelty and potential application, plus relevant photographs, videos, and / or diagrams; and a brief logistics plan for the intended demo.

A technology diverse group within SID, from various regions throughout the world, will be formed to serve as the selection committee.  Criterion is based on novelty, interest, and quality of the prototype to be exhibited.  Other perks include, an award, to be given at the event, where the I-Zone Committee will select a winner of the “Best Prototype at Display Week 2012″ with a writ-up in Information Display magazine.

As mentioned above, sponsor for the event is E-Ink, a company that’s well known for showing a particularly wide variety of display prototypes devices in the past.  At last year’s SID they created a buzz around displays embedded in, jump drives, key fobs, even Music stands and Snowboards.

We think the I-Zone move is truly inspirational, with synergies not just for the principles involved, but offers opportunities to expand awareness of the display industry to the general public, particularly in the host city and surrounding areas.  This year’s site is Boston, an academic and culturally rich environment, where some leading start-up companies have their roots.  This includes the I-Zone the sponsor of record E-Ink that has its research roots at the MIT Media Lab, OK not strictly Boston, but just across the Charles River in Cambridge, MA (“our fair city…”) So plan to kick-off Summer right this year with your spot in the I-Zone, but don’t break out the sun glasses, until you get that Application filled out and submitted for approval.

Posted by Pete Putman, February 1, 2012 3:35 PM

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About Pete Putman

Peter Putman is the president of ROAM Consulting L.L.C. His company provides training, marketing communications, and product testing/development services to manufacturers, dealers, and end-users of displays, display interfaces, and related products.

Pete edits and publishes HDTVexpert.com, a Web blog focused on digital TV, HDTV, and display technologies. He is also a columnist for Pro AV magazine, the leading trade publication for commercial AV systems integrators.