Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 13, 2012


Host: Ted Simons

AZ Tech and Innovation: Large Flexible Display

  |   Video
  • The largest flexible color display has been developed by researchers at Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center. The director of the center, Nick Colaneri, will talk about the 7.4 inch display.
Guests:
  • Nick Colaneri - Director of Flexible Display Center, Arizona State University
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: ASU, flexible, color, display, technology, innovation, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight in our continuing coverage of Arizona technology and innovation, we take a look at the future of video displays. It's the world's largest flexible color organic light emitting display, and it's made right here in the valley at ASU. The 7.5 inch display was developed in conjunction with army research lab scientists for use in battlefield conditions. But that's only the beginning of the display's possible applications. Joining us now to talk about all this is Nick Colaneri, director of the ASU flexible display center. Thanks for joining us.

Nick Colaneri: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: Let’s talk about exactly, this is the world's, why is the world's largest flexible display only 7.4 inches?

Nick Colaneri: It’s pretty hard to make big advertise plays. You had small TVs before you had big TVs in your living room and the same is true for plastic displays.

Ted Simons: Full color, full motion, flexible video display. How do you make this? How do you do it?

Nick Colaneri: Display is a complicated sandwich. It's, the thing in your living room wall is a piece of glass. It's got some electronics on the glass and a bunch of other layers that perform different functions to create an image when you address it electronically. If we want to do that on plastic the first thing we have to figure identity how to do is put the electronics on plastic. That's what we have been doing at ASU, taking pieces of plastic and putting electronics on. What you see here is actually four of those video displays. And they would need several more layers to actually become the video display and then I have to add on a computer that drives the images and stuff.

Ted Simons: That bends. That's a big deal, isn't it?

Nick Colaneri: It is a big deal. And from the army's perspective, what's more important than bending if it's banged into it doesn't break like a piece of glass.

Ted Simons: Is this what this mixed oxide thin film, that's basically what that is?

Nick Colaneri: The mixed oxide is actually something that's brittle and would break. That's a semi-conductor material we make the electronics out of. So we get better performance in the electronics and LCD screen off that which is needed for that.

Ted Simons: As far as manufacturing this, how expensive are the materials? How much does it cost to make?

Nick Colaneri: Well, it's hard to answer the how much does it cost to make because there aren't factories making these things right now. What we have at ASU is effectively a manufacturing laboratory where we are working out the manufacturing process in miniature, full. And it's pretty expensive to do it that way. We have tried to engineer things so we are going to use the same equipment that the industry uses today, slight change in the materials, slight change in the processes to minimize the cost additions. All new technologies wind up costing more when they first come out, and this will be no exception. We are trying to get that down to maybe 10% more than the existing.

Ted Simons: The fact that you can use existing silicon production lines for much of this, that has to be a factor, doesn't it?

Nick Colaneri: That’s a huge factor. That was a goal. We designed the process that way and that created some challenges but we want to be able to go to the guys that are manufacturing these things today, and say, we have got something you can just drop in and you get a different product out.

Ted Simons: How much power do they use?

Nick Colaneri: So we were attracted to OLED's, the technology available now in the Samsung galaxy phone because they use less power than LCD's. I came from a show in Boston and there are folks showing side by side comparisons.

Ted Simons: And I would imagine not nearly as warm as some LCD?

Nick Colaneri: They don't get as warm. Certainly. And we expect that power consumption to go down over time because we are still learning how to make the technology in the optimum way.

Ted Simons: We mention these were developed with army research lab scientists. What were they looking for? Talk about that particular collaboration.

Nick Colaneri: The army has funded the program. Arizona State University won a competition, almost 10 years ago, to have this sited here in the valley and what the army was looking for was a an industrial collaboration between universities and a lot of different industrial players to see if we could figure out how to do this. They want display that is don't break. Right now they use a lot of things that show information and if they need to stick a display in it they need to use a glass display so they have to ruggedize it, and that makes it heavier. And those things limit the number of devices they can use to track stuff they are using are for the information they need.

Ted Simons: That would be the application for battlefield conditions. What about commercial applications? Nonmilitary applications? What do you see there?

Nick Colaneri: I see a lot of interest. I always say I am not smart enough to figure out what the consumer applications are. What I found interesting at this industry conference was, in years gone by, I would be meeting engineers from Samsung or from Lucky Gold Star or from various defense contractors. This meeting I was talking to a lot of guys with business cards from Google, two young men showed up with badges that said Facebook, a company that, you know, last year wasn't even on the convention floor. I'm thinking, when you peel back the onion what's going on is the iPhone and the iPad have upset the ecosystem of the display industry. We no longer have silos and people that make software and people that make content. It's all been kind of mixed together. They are all still figuring that out and looking for jazzy new electronic solutions to help them create compelling consumer applications.

Ted Simons: Can you see these jazzy new applications? You got a kindle there. Something, can you see that kindle bending or an iPad bending in the near or distant future?

Nick Colaneri: I think, kindle, that's why I brought these along. This is a technology that's further along. This is my kindle. The kindle has a hard glass screen.

Ted Simons: Sure.

Nick Colaneri: If I stick this in my coat pocket and bang on it, I’m probably going to break it. The first thing we did was to figure out how to make that on plastic. This is the same screen in a kindle but it's bendable. There's a factory in Taiwan gearing up to make these right now. Now, at first they just want to make thinner kindles that don't break in your backpack. They are certainly thinking about kindles you can fold.

Ted Simons: When you said that, that would be, that's the thickness of it?

Nick Colaneri: This is the thickness of the display.

Ted Simons: That’s it.

Nick Colaneri: That’s it.

Ted Simons: That’s like a card.

Nick Colaneri: That’s right.

Ted Simons: That’s nothing compared to what we are seeing now.

Nick Colaneri: That’s exactly what we are thinking about. The electronics, the thickness of a credit card.

Ted Simons: The consumer applications are -- and its possibilities I would think -- no wonder these Facebook and Google guys are there. Goodness gracious. The flexible display center at ASU was this developed and is this in conjunction specifically for this particular project?

Nick Colaneri: It is specifically for this project. Although, of course, at Arizona state, we like to think bigger than that. We are looking at how can we leverage the opportunity to help the army with a problem to create a completely new environment for engineering, for educating folks who have to work in a different, globalized environment, and the way the display industry works is a very complex ecosystem. We are also looking for economic development opportunities here in the phoenix area. There are a lot of things that go into a display that don't involve having a factory. Materials, tools for making things.

Ted Simons: Yeah. I think you got something here. How big a breakthrough is this? Bottom line, how big is this?

Nick Colaneri: I think it's a pretty big deal. It's always hard to make predictions in consumer electronics because you don't know what's going to catch people's fancy but I can tell you by the kinds of phone calls I’ve been getting I think this that is has excited people's imaginations.

Ted Simons: Thanks for the information.

Nick Colaneri: Pleasure being here.

Champion of the Earth

  |   Video
  • The dean of ASU’s School of Sustainability, Sander van der Leeuw, has been selected as a winner of the 2012 United Nations Champions of the Earth award. Professor van der Leeuw talks about his work that earned him the honor.
Guests:
  • Sander van der Leeuw - Professor, Dean, ASU School of Sustainability
Category: Education   |   Keywords: ASU, sustainability, united, nations, champions, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The dean of ASU's school of sustainability has been recognized by the United Nations with a champion of the earth award, the U.N.'s top environmental honor. Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw was recognized in the science and innovation category. He joins us now to talk about the award and his work. Good to see you here.

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: Thank you for inviting me.

Ted Simons: What’s the champion of earth? What's this all about?

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: I think what the united nations and particularly the environmental program wants to do is, it wants to designate people that aren't usually in the television and other sort of media for their work, promoting basically on a daily basis various aspects of sustainability. So they choose people, some of them famous, but a lot of them not at all well known, and as they say themselves, for the courage of having persisted with the work as you were meeting initially, of course, a lot of criticism and things like that.

Ted Simons: We should mention, Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev are popular names, people who have been doing things like you. Your research is in human environmental relations. What does that mean?

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: I began as an archaeologist and got fascinated by how people, over the language term, relate to their environment. And what the consequences for them. In many cases you see things that are not so dissimilar with the present, that is, societies that transform their environment in such a way that ultimately, they don't know how to solve their own problems anymore. So I did studies like that. Initially for, as an archaeologist in the near east and in Europe, and then I was asked in the middle of the sort of early '90s to start doing this for the modern world by the European union which funded me to look at agricultural problems, essentially, in southern Europe.

Ted Simons: And it sounds like, from a distance, it sounds like what you are concentrating on is innovation and how innovation affects societal process, growth, because it's an interesting way to look at things. We are building a better mouse trap but how is that better mouse trap affecting --

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: This is exactly the point. My getting into the innovation part is a little bit later. It's after 2000. And it came from the dilemma we all talk about trying to innovative our way out of sustainability and for getting that for two centuries we innovated our way into sustainability during the industrial revolution. So a lot of it has to do with how can we better use and better focus innovation in a way that it actually better contributes to sustainability?

Ted Simons: Basically, how do we innovative innovation?

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: Yeah. Very good way to put it.

Ted Simons: Thanks. How do we do that?

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: Let me put it this way. When I started this work, I was quite struck by the fact that most people have actually looked at the conditions under which innovation happens, and the end result of innovation, and particularly from the economic side. And because our science is so reductionist, people had not really looked at creativity. And so what I have been trying to do with a team of people in Europe and also here in the united states is to basically see if creativity is indeed something in a black box or whether you can actually begin to say something about how it will happen and what might not happen?

Ted Simons: How do you -- you have creative minds out there.

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: Yeah.

Ted Simons: Building that better mouse trap. How do you say, careful with that or maybe we need look -- I mean, we're humans.

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: I know, I know, this is, of course, clearly one of the big problems with it. But on the one hand what you can do, nobody invents ideas completely out of the blue. And by relating the mental models that people have, all the technologies they have, for example, to the materials that are available, to the functions that need to be filled in society, you can exclude a number of innovations that are not really likely to happen. At the same time, from the sustainability perspective, every innovation has a number of intended or unintended consequences. And so one of the really important aspects that has led to what people call the precautionary principle is to begin to think about all the unintended consequences of your innovations. And thereby plan much better, be selective about them, and be in that sense aware of a number of the constraints we are living with right now.

Ted Simons: How do you avoid being too cautious with the precautionary principle?

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: That’s a question of how you implement it. These are always the risks in society, to be too much or too little. It is basically a question, to use common sense and -- but before you use simply common sense to make the decision, at least be much more informed about the possibilities of what might go right and what might go wrong. My personal conviction is, this is something we are trying to do in the school of sustainability also, to educate our students much more in thinking about alternatives rather than telling them, well, this is the story, this is cause and effect, to let them themselves experience, by giving them problems to solve, that there are always alternatives and many alternatives. And then having them very explicitly work on how to choose which of those alternatives is actually the least damaging.

Ted Simons: Real quickly you talk about confusing the role of fear and hope. That's that mind set thing again, isn't it?

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: That’s that mind set thing again. For me sustainability is changing mindsets and I think one of the fundamental mistakes that were made in the '90s particular about climate change is that it was projected as a huge calamity. I think you can project it as quite realistically as a huge opportunity and more and more businesses are beginning to see that. More and more countries are beginning to see that. And that is, I think what I meant by saying, hope is something that can mobilize for the longer term. Fear is very often something that only mobilizes for the very short-term.

Ted Simons: You certainly caught the attention of the U.N. congratulations on that award and thank you so much for joining us.

Professor Sander Van Der Leeuw: Thank you very much.

Congressional District 8 Special Election

  |   Video
  • Ron Barber, a former aide to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, won Tuesday’s special election to complete Giffords’ congressional term. Arizona Republic congressional reporter Rebekah Sanders talks about the race between Barber, a Democrat, and Republican Tea Party candidate Jesse Kelly.
Guests:
  • Rebekah Sanders - Reporter, Arizona Republic
Category: Elections   |   Keywords: giffords, elections, district, special, congress, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Ron Barber is the new Arizona representative in congressional district 8. Barber, a former aide to congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, defeated tea party candidates Jesse Kelly in a special election to serve out Giffords' congressional term. The race drew national interest as a possible bellwether for November’s general election. Here to talk about yesterday's vote is Rebekah Sanders of the "Arizona republic." good to see you again. Thanks for joining us. Surprised at all with these results?

Rebekah Sanders: A bit. We thought that this might be a tighter race at the end, but it was a landslide for barber and it was pretty interesting to see that.

Ted Simons: Who is Mr. Barber? Describe his campaign for us.

Rebekah Sanders: Former aide to Gabrielle Giffords, friend of hers. Was not intending to run but she asked him to. And he ran a campaign that was about a lot of Democratic talking points that you will see in the fall, fighting for the middle class, attacking his opponent, Jesse Kelly, for stances on Social Security and Medicare and corporate taxes, those kinds of things. And he won by about seven points. It was pretty convincing.

Ted Simons: So he did not necessarily run away from the administration in this race.

Rebekah Sanders: Oh, he did distance himself for sure from President Obama, and the Republicans were trying to tie him to Obama and Nancy Pelosi, definitely.

Ted Simons: The impact of Gabrielle Giffords asking him to run and her subsequent endorsement how big was that down there?

Rebekah Sanders: It's hard to tell for sure but it definitely seems like, with this convincing of a result, that she really was, you know, strongly in voters' minds. And most of the, in fact, all of the voters that I talked to when asked, does she play into your vote, would say, no, but on the other hand, it's reasonable to think this was filling out last six months of her term and who her choice was kind of should be the one to fill it out.

Ted Simons: The opponent, Jesse Kelly, tell us about him. What kind of race did he run?

Rebekah Sanders: He was running a campaign that seemed somewhat different from his campaign in 2010, in that two years ago when he ran against Giffords, he used very strong rhetoric. He held a campaign event about shooting an M-16 with Jesse Kelly. He's a Marine veteran who did a tour in Iraq and some of his mailers had photos of him on his tour with guns. None of that this time. Nice photos of him and his wife and sons, ads with his grandfather on TV. I think trying to be toning the rhetoric down a little bit.

Ted Simons: Was there a big issue in this race? Something that stood out more anything?

Rebekah Sanders: Again, a lot of these talking points that you will see Democrats and Republicans use in the future on Kelly's side, the republican points were, lower taxes to get the economy going. Creating jobs by using more American energy such as approving the keystone pipeline, cutting government spending, getting government out of the bay way of business, those kinds of things.

Ted Simons: Any misstep, any ah-ha moments any candidate would regret, especially Kelly since he came up short?

Rebekah Sanders: That’s really hard to say. I think one of the knocks against barber is that he's a bit, he's a guy who really connects well on the one on one, but isn't the traditional outgoing, charismatic politician type who connects on a stage. But clearly he connected enough to get this win. Jesse Kelly, I think that what really came back to bite him was his statements in 2010 about privatizing social security and trying to phase out Medicare and those kind of things. Which he tried to say over and over, this campaign, look, I have always said I would protect the benefits of current recipients. This is just for the future. But even though that worried a lot of seniors.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, will we see, again, we need to remind everyone this is Congressional District 8, the same area will be Congressional District 2 come the next election. The same general area. Obviously, it takes a little bit. We will see Kelly run again for the cd 2?

Rebekah Sanders: I think this is the most important question post election. Will Jesse Kelly run again or not? District 2 was redistricted. And what's interesting is, its boundary, a lot of the places where Kelly was strong in his 2010 election, presumably, this election, will no longer be in this district. In fact, his home will not be in the new district. And so that may hurt him. In addition, he's lost two elections. There is another republican candidate, Martha Mcsally, and another fairly unknown one who will be challenging in the primary. And Republican Party members may say, look, your time is over. It's time to pass the baton on and Mcsally has definitely gained traction. There's a lot of buzz about her being a strong candidate.

Ted Simons: There was a lot of buzz about her in the primary.

Rebekah Sanders: Well, exactly.

Ted Simons: Last question. As far as Barber is concerned, he will run again. Correct?

Rebekah Sanders: He will run. And it looks like he will have a challenger in the primary. State representative Matt Hines who is a physician in Tucson.

Ted Simons: Interesting. We weren't sure. Usually you don't see that kind of thing with an incumbent but so many Democrats had their eye on that seat and he wasn't necessarily expected to run again initially, was he?

Rebekah Sanders: He kept is an open question. And behind the scenes, Democrats have said that they were told that he was not going to run for the full term. But he changed his mind, according to them, or according to him, he just decided that people were supporting him and wanted him to run in both.

Ted Simons: Interesting. That campaign is already underway just because the election is over for the special. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us here.

Rebekah Sanders: Thank you.

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