Professor Ian Underwood honoured for work on cutting-edge displays

Professor Ian Underwood

Professor Ian Underwood has been elected a Fellow of the Society for Information Display (SID) for his pioneering work on electronic display technologies.

Underwood is Professor of Electronic Displays in the School of Engineering and is known worldwide as an authority on microdisplay technology, systems, and applications.

Pioneering digital displays

Underwood works on innovative display technologies which are found in everything from home cinemas, digital cinema projectors, to virtual reality headsets, digital camera viewfinders and ‘Head Up’ dashboard displays in airplanes and high-end cars.

He is a pioneer of so-called ‘fast-switching ferroelectric liquid crystal on silicon’ (FLCoS) technology - a digital display technology that first rose to prominence in the 1990s, offering significant advantages over previous hybrid analogue and digital versions.

FLCoS is capable of displaying “cleaner” images that can operate at higher frame rates, particularly useful for displaying fast-moving video such as sports and action.

“World’s smallest colour TV”

In 1998 Underwood co-founded MicroEmissive Displays, which became a leader in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) microdisplays.

There he headed the team that developed “the world’s smallest colour TV screen” (2004 Guinness Book of World Records) and, in 2005, won the Inaugural IEE (now IET) Innovation in Engineering Award for Emerging Technology.

Rare accolade

Underwood is one of only a small handful of SID members to be elevated to the position of Fellow and the only UK SID Fellow currently active in the field.

Among his other personal awards include the 2000 Ben Sturgeon Award of the UK Chapter of SID, Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, 2003, and the 2004 Gannochy Award for Innovation of the Royal Society of Edinburgh – Scotland’s highest accolade for individual achievement in innovation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Institute of Physics. 

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