Not content with developing batteries for cellphones that recharge a completely dead device in a minute, or even with building a battery for electric cars that will cut recharging time from six hours to five minutes, Israeli start-up StoreDot has a third objective: developing screen technology that will allow users to roll up their phones and store them in their shirt pocket, like a pen – with a screen that displays colors that are clearer, cleaner, and more vivid than anything on the market today.
“We’ve been working on the screen technology since the company was first established in 2012,” StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf told The Times of Israel. “We didn’t talk about it too much because, since we are better known for the battery technology, we didn’t want to confuse the market. But we have reached an important milestone in development of the project that we wanted to share.”
That milestone is the development of StoreDot’s MolecuLED, a layer composed of organic molecules that allows liquid crystal display (LCD) screens to generate more vivid colors, approaching OLED image quality levels. The screens, used for everything from TVs to computer screens to phones and tablets, display brighter and clearer colors. They are “without toxicity” – which refers both to the materials used and the clarity of the display, said Myersdorf – to the extent that “it is as clean a display as an OLED screen,” the organic light-emitting diode that is considered the state of the art of display technology, with better and clearer colors, lower energy use, much faster rendering, and screen flexibility.
While OLED is still being developed, said Myersdorf, LCD is here now, so the StoreDot solution will be able to provide improved viewing experiences for users far sooner than OLED screens will.
“Samsung has been a long-time investor in our company, and the screen technology we are developing is one important factor in that, along with the battery technology, of course,” said Myersdorf.
StoreDot first came to the world’s attention in 2014, when Myersdorf appeared on stage at ThinkNext, an annual tech event sponsored by Microsoft Israel, displaying before a crowd of some 1,500 a phone as it recharged from zero power to 100% in about two minutes (the technology has improved since then, and now the StoreDot charge can do that in about a minute).
At this year’s ThinkNext, Myersdorf made another tech announcement. “Next year, we will present a technology to recharge an electric car in five minutes,” he said. “By using an array of 7,000 cells, we’ll take a car that has a zero charge and recharge its batteries to 100% capacity. Then, while ThinkNext is going on, we’ll send it on a trip to Beersheba and have it come back at the end of the event.”
Neither of those are pie in the sky, said the CEO. “For the phone batteries, we are doing testing with six of the world’s ten biggest manufacturers, which we expect to finish by the end of the year. By the beginning of 2016 we expect to sign a deal with at least one manufacturer, with the first phones that can utilize our technology in the summer or fall of 2016.”
Development of the electric car battery array, meanwhile, is continuing apace, said Myersdorf. “We’ve entered into preliminary talks with some of the largest car manufacturers, but it’s still a bit early to announce anything. Nevertheless, we have decided to soon enter into another funding round to raise money specifically for a division that will concentrate on the car batteries.”
The car batteries, phone batteries, and LCD display technology all use the same basic nano-based components, said Myersdorf. The basic technology uses nano-materials (proprietary compounds made of organic material) to create quantum-dot material from small nanotube structures. The quantum-dots (called NanoDots by the company) are stored in an array and emit energy (either power or light) when hit by photons. The result, said Myersdorf, is a clearer, cleaner display that emits very bright and sharp reds, blues, and greens, the basic colors used in LCD screen technology.
The StoreDot system can also be married to material technology to create flexible screens – foldbable, spindable, and bendable material that can be used for cellphones, TVs, etc. “Within ten years everyone will have device that is completely translucent and can be completely rolled up that, when activated, will provide perfect display and vivid color,” said Myersdorf.
The LCD technology space has become very hot of late. Just this week, pharmaceutical and chemical giant Merck announced it was completing acquisition of Israel’s Qlight, another company that uses nano-technology to create better and clearer LCD displays. “The difference between us is that while their technology is based on manipulation of heavy metals like cadmium, ours is completely organic, without any chemicals. “
“We also overcome the disadvantages of OLED technology,” said Myersdorf – especially the operational life issue, with OLED picture quality beginning to deteriorate after about 1,000 hours. “The MolecuLED is constructed in a way that allows it to display the high quality images over a long operational lifetime, exceeding 20,000 hours. The MolecuLED has 20% less power consumption compared to competing solutions. The active layer component of the display is 90% cheaper compared to other solutions.
“The MolecuLED technology allows us to reach the vast LCD display market and enjoy new business ventures, since it holds great advantage particularly when it comes to large form-factor displays, such as large screen TVs and monitors, in addition to mobile devices,” added Myersdorf. “The innovative materials, and the efficient production process of the MolecuLED makes it highly attractive compared to competing and toxic quantum-dot technologies.”