Forth Dimension Displays leaps ahead of the competition with the most impressive next generation microdisplay

Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD) is thrilled to announce the biggest advance in near-to-eye (NTE) display performance since their SXGA microdisplay revolutionized NTE systems in 2002: ForthDD’s up-coming QXGA microdisplay.  The QXGA microdisplay (2048 x 1536 pixels) leaps ahead of the competition by offering the highest resolution available for NTE applications in the world.

With an industry leading fill factor, no performance detracting sub-pixels or color filters, the QXGA will continue ForthDD’s tradition of enabling the highest performance WFOV applications with scalable illumination supplied by extended color gamut light sources, all with neatly integrated compact, fully digital interfaces.

Utilizing the same time proven reflective fast switching LCOS and all digital TDI™ technologies that has powered all of the high performance HMDs worldwide for the last 8 years, this exciting product will leverage ForthDD’s proven world-leading manufacturing capabilities for high performance premium quality microdisplays, thus enabling immediate availability without disappointing production ramp ups hindered by low yield processes.  Perhaps even more attractively, the QXGA and interface electronics will enter the market at an immediately competitive price.

The features of the new QXGA include a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, an aspect ratio of 4:3, and active display area of <0.9” / 22.9mm diagonal and native 24 bit color depth.
A number of targeted applications will benefit from this new masterpiece.  ForthDD expects that the new QXGA display will be quickly incorporated into Wide Field of View Head Mounted Displays (WFOV HMDs) for the Training, Simulation and Educational markets, enabling the design and manufacture of WFOV HMDs which have a spatial resolution of 1.5 arc minutes / per pixel at 100° FOV.  This spatial resolution will match the visual acuity of the average human eye and will further blur the boundary between virtual environments and reality.

This WFOV will be groundbreaking and achieved without optical tiling of multiple low resolution microdisplays.  Engaging the peripheral vision via an extended higher definition field of view will improve the situational awareness and therefore increase the ability to replicate reality. The ForthDD QXGA is the only microdisplay which has been publicly announced that will enable an immersive (>100° FOV) HMD with no resolvable pixel structure.

Additional applications will include Full HD and 2K electronic viewfinders for cameras and surveillance systems with an abundance of space available on the display, above and below the Full HD window for high performance On Screen Displays (OSDs).

ForthDD’s plan for the QXGA is to have it qualified and shipping out to customers in 2012.
For more information on this revolutionary new product, please come and speak to us at I/ITSEC booth number 1772 or contact

Introducing the R5 new and improved video interface

The latest revision of video interface has now been launched by Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD).
The interface with suffix -R5 is now available from Europe’s only LCOS manufacturer, and is capable of driving either the 96% fill factor WXGA microdisplay, or the industry leading 1280 x 1024 pixel SXGA microdisplay.

The -R5

The -R5 is simply an acronym for Release 5 of the ForthDD microdisplay interface.  ForthDD continue to have the second and third release of this interface on their line card with suffix -R2D and -R3 respectively, as well as the -3DM suffix interface (which essentially is the fourth interface release).


The distinguishing feature of this revolutionary new interface is the small printed circuit board, with a footprint approximately one quarter of the size of its predecessor; the -R3.  ForthDD have deliberately designed this product to have a reduced footprint and to drive the display directly instead of over a cable.  The interface continues to offer only the very best in microdisplay imaging quality, complimented by a more compact, lower power package to further enable the opening of new applications and opportunities.

Initial clients are located in Scandinavia, France and the USA.  Each incorporate the ForthDD -R5 system into display and non-display applications alike and these predominantly include instruments from both the scientific and ophthalmic diagnosis industries.

The -R5 also provides the ideal platform for an electronic viewfinder as used in cinematography, military training and medical applications and the sales and applications team are currently hot on the heels of new design-ins being completed in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

The -R5 will be featured at the forthcoming I/ITSEC exhibition from the 29th of November – 2nd of December (stand 1772) at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida.
Available now as a development kit and in larger volumes for series production.  For more information on the -R5, please contact

Liquid Crystal On Silicon (LCOS). Nature Photonics

Liquid Crystal On Silicon (LCOS). David Vettese.
nature photonics.| VOL 4 | NOVEMBER 2010 |, page 752

Microdisplays based on liquid-crystal-on-silicon technology may soon gain wider recognition as they penetrate an increasing number of markets, ranging from electronic viewfinders to miniature data projectors and head-up displays.

When it comes to display technologies, the concepts of both liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) and cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are widely known. The same cannot be said of liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS), even though this technology is used extensively in many industries that require high quality microdisplays.

Most LCOS devices comprise a layer of liquid crystal sandwiched between a top sheet of glass coated with a transparent electrode, and a pixelated silicon substrate (or backplane) made by the complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) fabrication process. Because the silicon is reflective, it serves as a mirror element for each pixel, with the strength of the reflection electronically controlled by the amount of light transmitted through the liquid crystal above. Separate channels of red, green and blue light illuminate the LCOS chip in turn, with electronic drive signals controlling the transmission state of each pixel to form an active-matrix colour image. In some cases, a dedicated LCOS chip is used for each colour channel.

This is a very simple and elegant design concept: the backplane is formed from a standard CMOS processed wafer and the glass substrate has no patterning. Indeed, the CMOS industry benefits from the heavy investments made by other industries, which allows for increases in pixel density (and, thus, higher resolution) without the need for LCOS manufacturers’ investment.

Click here to read more


A proud moment for Forth Dimension Displays employees

Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD) are extremely proud to have raised a whopping £2,255 for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

CHAS donation
Left to right: Kelly MacIntyre, Stuart Robertson and David Vettese from Forth Dimension Displays

CHAS is a Scottish charity which provides the only hospice services in Scotland for children and young people with life-shortening conditions.  With two hospices in Scotland; Rachel House in Kinross, and Robin House in Balloch, this charity admirably provides support for children and their families through what one can only imagine is any parent’s worst nightmare.  CHAS offer short planned breaks, emergency support, end of life care and a range of bereavement services to families.

Encouraged by Real Radio’s push on ‘Bring a Pound to Work Day’, Allison Craig from ForthDD made a substantial difference to the pot, ensuring all staff made a contribution.  Along with colleagues David Vettese, Kelly MacIntyre, Claire Rankine, Graeme Millar and Stuart Robertson, Allison also took part in the Walk for Scotland, a 6.7 mile circular hike which begins in Holyrood Park, taking participants through Duddingston.

Stuart Robertson, ForthDD’s Senior Industrial Engineer decided to bravely conquer the West Highland Way, which boasts an impressive 96 miles, running from Milngavie (North of Glasgow) all the way to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands.  Two of Stuart’s friends accompanied him.

Having agreed prior to beginning their journey that there would be no hotels or luxuries on the way, the three buddies set out, following the suggested 7 day plan.  The team were soon to discover that most of those who had decided to embark on this somewhat treacherous walk, were booked into nice heated accommodation, and had full access to hot showers and warm beds.  So, whilst Stuart and his friends woke up most mornings to 6 pairs of soggy socks, they were often met by some very smug ramblers along the way.  Suffice to say, they were all very relieved to return to the comfort of their own homes!

Stuart (on the right) with his two walking buddies

Stuart regularly takes part in local running events and hopes to do some more fundraising for CHAS in the future.  He said, “CHAS is a great cause and seeing the facilities really brought it home as to why we all took part.”

David Vettese, European Sales Manager at ForthDD was also extremely successful in raising funds for CHAS through a golfing event held on the 20th of May this year, at Burntisland Golf Course.  Sponsored by Eden Scott, Molex, Sonart and EBV Elektronik, the winners included Fred Hallsworth of Forth DD, Nigel Ballard of Molex, Bruce Hydes of Eden Scott and David Kirchen of HBJ Gateley Wareing LLP, whilst many others received prizes, kindly donated by the sponsors.  David commented, “A great day was had by all and thankfully, the weather really held up.  Thanks to all those who helped in organising it – it was fantastic to raise all this money for such a worthwhile cause.”

Chris Chalmers from ForthDD doing his best Jack Nicklaus impression
Peter Hall of ForthDD, provided the running commentary…

Kelly MacIntyre of ForthDD has been volunteering for CHAS on a regular basis over the last year.  Kelly said, “The facility at Rachael House is a very magical place and they rely almost fully on the good will of the volunteers as well as the full-time staff to get involved with anything, from gardening to cleaning.”

All the fundraising staff from ForthDD were invited to visit the facilities recently.  Allison Craig commented, “The facility was quite basic and cares for small babies as well, as children in their late teens.  This charity really struggles to get significant funding and a weekly grocery bill alone can come to £5,000!”

A special thanks also goes out to the ladies from the ForthDD clean room who raised an impressive amount through their bake sale.

You too can support CHAS by making a donation via their website at:

Green with envy?

Forth Dimension Displays win Best Newcomer Award for Environmental Management at this years’ Green Business Fife Awards.

Green business fife awards
Left to right: David Miller of the BBC, Andy McKay of          ForthDD and Peter Quinn of ScotAsh.

Green business fife awards winnerGreen business fife awards winner



As companies come under ever increasing levels of scrutiny when it comes to their environmental responsibilities, ForthDD were delighted to announce their Best Newcomer Award for Environmental Management at this years’ Green Business Fife Awards, held at Balbirnie House Hotel, Glenrothes, in May.  Winners were congratulated for their work on environmental performance, products, services and green entrepreneurship by BBC Scotland’s environmental correspondent, David Miller, who was the ceremony’s guest of honour.

The categories on which the judges based their decisions included; Environmental Sustainability, Business Success (innovation and leadership), Benefits for the Wider Community, Sustainable Procurement and Supply Chain initiatives.

The assessment for qualification was carried out by an independent consulting group and adjudicator, allocated by the Carbon Trust.  The Carbon Trust provides specialist support to businesses and the public sector throughout the UK to assist in cutting carbon emissions, saving energy and commercialising low carbon technologies.  Entrants came from the manufacturing sector, the food industry, IT and consultancy companies, consumer services, media and education with a significant increase in the number of small companies entering, outnumbering larger companies by around 3 to 1.

This big win will mean that ForthDD will now be automatically submitted to the Scotland wide VIBES awards (, which could lead to its nomination for the European Business Awards (, an opportunity which ForthDD will certainly strive toward.

Andy McKay of ForthDD commented, “This has been a fantastic achievement for us and is further testament to our ongoing work to reduce our carbon footprint.”  Andy is ForthDD’s Facilities, Engineering and Health & Safety Manager, dedicating much of his time to looking at how overheads can be reduced, and more importantly, how waste is minimised in the processes of production and to reduce overall carbon emissions as a firm.  Andy added, “A considerable amount of hard work has been put into this by introducing new projects and initiatives for a better sustainable business practice”.  Andy regularly attends business meetings specifically related to current environmental issues, as well as a number of other renewable energy supply chain events.

In addition to all the good work ForthDD are involved with internally, a policy of conducting business travel with airlines who use efficient aircraft whilst using the maximum number of seats (Easyjet, Ryanair and Flybe) was also introduced, thereby minimising the emissions/CO2 impact (and cost) of business travel.

David Vettese, European Sales Manager says, “Those of us travelling to and from Edinburgh Airport have switched from taxis to public transport, reducing cost and emissions, CO2 impact and number of car journeys.  In our Berlin office we have taken this one step further with a no car / no taxi policy by which all transport (including between home and office) is undertaken via public transport; by bus, rail and tram.”

Greg Truman, CEO of Forth DD added, “This is a fantastic accolade for ForthDD and an issue which we will continue to keep at the forefront of our overall business objectives.”


ForthDD, Hull University and Kingston Chemicals at the Leading Edge of FLC Developments

Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD) in partnership with Kingston Chemicals and the University of Hull are pleased to announce their participation in a potentially groundbreaking research program entitled “Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals for Defect Free Displays”.

Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals are fast, binary switching liquid crystals which have found many applications in microdisplay markets such as those serviced by ForthDD’s SXGA and WXGA microdisplay and SLM products. Whilst this liquid crystal is a niche market enabler, it has never been used successfully in larger liquid crystal displays such as the popular flat panel LCDs as found in many high street stores.

The benefits of a fast switching liquid crystal are clear: by switching off the image in periods measured in tens of microseconds, the “ferroelectric” liquid crystal is far faster than the switching of the state of the art “nematic” liquid crystals which generally switch in periods measured in milliseconds. The possible results include a reduction in motion blur artefacts which continue to be the Achilles heel of many consumer LCDs.

While Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal has a long track record of being successfully used in microdisplays, it has always been more difficult to process in large area panels. Once processed into larger panels, the LC alignment quickly degrades and results in optical defects.

To tackle this, Dr. Robert Lewis of the University of Hull (a leading academic institute for liquid crystal research) will investigate the potential of novel smectic C fluoroterphenyl liquid crystals containing terminal carbosilane groups as well as novel FLC mixtures based on these carbosilane fluoroterphenyl compounds. This approach has shown promise in allowing ferroelectric liquid crystals to be processed into larger panels without degradation to allow for “artefact free ferroelectric liquid crystal displays”.

ForthDD is always interested in exploring new Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal materials that might further improve the performance of their world leading products as well as supporting further research in the Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal field. The company is, therefore, pleased to support the University of Hull by providing them with Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal filled test cells and ForthDD’s ability to consistently and accurately process samples of liquid crystal into testable cells will allow for repeatable and consistent measurement of liquid crystal performance.

ForthDD wishes their partners in this exciting project, both the University of Hull and Kingston Chemicals Ltd, every success. We all look forward to seeing Ferroelectric Liquid Crystals being used in displays solutions for every market need.

Forth Dimension Displays Certified for Quality ISO 9001:2008

Forth Dimensions Displays Ltd (ForthDD) as Europe’s only manufacturer of LCOS microdisplays is proud to announce that their ISO 9001 quality management system certificate is now fully compliant with the 2008 standard. This BS EN ISO 9001: 2008 credential certifies that a quality management system is in place for the provision of “design, development, manufacture and supply of liquid crystal microdisplay systems”.

Quality and innovation are at the heart of all Forth Dimension Displays activities and are paramount throughout every department. The certificate is the official confirmation of what all Forth Dimension Displays customers already know and trust.

ASC ForthDD Now Open for Business

Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD) provides world class service and support through both our global sales channels and in house sales/application support engineers.

As a company we value good customer support not only as an important way that ForthDD can differentiate itself from its competitors but we realize that our success is built directly on the success of our customers.

To assist with everyday customer support requirements, ForthDD has created a repository of technical information where our valued customers can search and find information which will assist with their design-in and after-sales support. ForthDD called this the “Application Support Centre” or ASC and this can be accessed via a secure log-in portal on the main ForthDD website at

Within the Application Support Centre, customers can find product specific and technology generic information including:

• Applications Notes
• User Manuals
• Software, AP codes, and sequences
• Product datasheets
• Mechanical diagrams

Each document will be to the latest revision so customers can be assured of having the most up-to-date information.

Recent additions to the repository include updated applications notes for the SXGA-R3 system as well as a new application note on the RS-232 control protocol for the -3DM interface.

To obtain a secure log-in username and password, please contact ForthDD technical support team at

EADS Astrium Choose Forth Dimension Displays

Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD) are proud to announce that EADS Astrium of Toulouse, France have successfully implemented their SXGA microdisplay into their on-ground optical stimulation system for space sensors.

The Star Tracker Optical Stimulator or µSTOS is an item of test equipment that was developed to operate like a dynamic planetarium. The ForthDD microdisplay is used to project real star constellations from star catalogues which are then visualized by the satellite’s heading sensor just like a real sky. This allows EADS Astrium to functionally characterise the star tracker sensors of the satellite and verify the overall functions of the attitude control system ahead of launch.

“EADS Astrium is pleased to say that having chosen Forth Dimension Displays as the microdisplay provider for its new optical stimulators has enabled us to lower the weight by almost a factor 100 while improving the overall performance of the optical imaging system”.

Star Tracker Optical Stimulator

Forth Dimension Displays debut WXGA microdisplay

Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD) have given the first public appearance of their much heralded WXGA resolution microdisplay at this years “Laser – World of Photonics” show in Munich, Germany.

With 1280 x 768 pixels and an industry leading full colour pixel fill factor of greater than 96%, ForthDD now have both of the world’s leading near to eye microdisplays (the other is ForthDD’s highly respected SXGA) on their line card.

WXGA microdisplay 530

Microdisplays by their very definition require magnification to realize the true image.  Whilst the very best attributes of a microdisplay are magnified, the worst aspects of the image are also magnified.  Knowing this, emphasis has been placed on the importance of the pixel visibility and to the coverage per pixel of the colour.  Unlike microdisplays which have colour filters, in a ForthDD pixel each colour covers the entirety of the pixel rather than just a fraction.  In the new WXGA microdisplay each colour is shown on more than 96% of the pixel rather than the 20%-23% visible in many other microdisplays.  Couple this with a considerable reduction in chicken wire or screen door effect and you begin to understand why ForthDD has established a position as the world’s leading suppliers of microdisplays into high quality near to eye applications.

Even before the WXGA had its first public viewing, ForthDD had secured three key design-ins for the WXGA with some of the most discerning microdisplay users in Europe, America and Japan.  These applications demanded the best image quality available on the market and there can be no better testament to the image quality that ForthDD’s products provide.

The WXGA is available in the R3-XD, R3 and 3DM configurations for display and non-display applications alike.