ePaper, evolution and experimentation: the 'State of Display'

October 03, 2018 // By Tim Burne, CEO of Plastic Logic
Tim Burne, CEO of Plastic Logic, discusses some of the findings from his company's recent survey of engineers and their approach to, and challenges with, designing-in displays.


Tim Burne, CEO of Plastic Logic.

Engineering as a profession is an interesting juxtaposition of creativity and grounded thought. On the one hand, an engineer is responsible for driving product development with ideas and experiments, looking to defy expectations and innovate exciting new features. On the other, they are restricted by pragmatic concerns; what their consumers expect, what they can work with, and the expectations tied to their brand.

This is particularly important in the realm of personal electronics and devices. We spend so much time engaging with our screens, and yet the vast majority suffer from the same limitations. Why are we settling for an unimaginative field of ‘me-too’ products? Why is product design, and in particular the choice of display, so often approached through the same ‘glass’ ceiling?

Plastic Logic’s latest research, outlined in its ‘State of Display’ report, attempts to address these questions based on a survey of 115 professional engineers involved in the outline specification or physical design of electronic products that feature integrated displays.

The findings suggest that engineers are struggling to deviate from the materials that consumers and industry professionals are used to incorporating into their products. If engineers were empowered to experiment and push beyond their comfort zone, they would have more success in eliminating the frustrations of conventional display technology.

Are innovative engineers engineering innovation?

The importance of innovation in engineering is recognised both as an obligation and a priority. 83 percent of the engineers surveyed consider innovating new product features as important, and 44 percent are actively required to innovate new product as a critical part of their projects. It’s obvious that innovation is crucial in providing something unique to consumers.

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