LONDON – Pixel Qi Corp., a developer of LCD panels with enhanced sunlight readability, has announced it has raised an undisclosed amount of money in a Series B round of financing. The investment – reported elsewhere to be $3 million – is led by materials and films vendor 3M Company (Maplewood, Minnesota), through its 3M New Ventures organization.
3M is a leading supplier of polarization and other films used within LCDs to optimize light transmission and so is a likely partner as well as a strategic investor in Pixel Qi (San Bruno, Calif.).
Pixel Qi was founded by Mary Lou Jepson in 2008 and its first products are sunlight-readable LCDs intended for mobile device applications. Because they are reflectively sun-light readable this allows system designers to turn off backlights thereby conserving power. The company is already offering monochrome and color 10.1-inch diagonal sized displays.
"Pixel Qi's full-function color screen technology, for the first time, gives consumers an outdoor-readable video display with exceptional battery life, usable anywhere, anytime. It's a first in the industry. In our collaboration with 3M, we have the ability to accelerate this into mass adoption," said Mary Lou Jepsen, co-founder and CEO of Pixel Qi, in a statement.
Pixel Qi, with a business model that makes it a fabless display company, now has a Taipei, Taiwan office location. The company said the funding will enable the company to develop its product offerings for volume consumer markets as well as digital signage and touch applications. It will also allow Pixel Qi to build and to strengthen its engineering and sales capabilities.
3M's optical systems division provides specialized polarization films used inside liquid crystal displays to optimize the light throughput. "The combination of Pixel Qi's low-energy, reflective display technology with 3M's innovative technologies will create exciting products for the mobile, handheld, tablet and other display markets," said said Jim Bauman, vice president of the optical systems division, in the same statement.
Prior to the formation of Pixel Qi Mary Lou Jepsen was the chief architect and chief technology officer, for the One Laptop Per Child project that aimed to create a $100 laptop computer that could be deployed in developing countries.
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