Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

Liquid-Crystal Displays (LCD’s) enable flat-screens with relatively low-power usage.

In 1888, Friedrich Reinitzer discovered liquid crystals in Germany. However, there was no use and the technology lay dormant for about 80 years.

In 1968, RCA’s George Hailmeir presented the first working LCD display. However, it only worked at 80°C (176°F) leaving it impractical for anything except Bikram Yoga. Accordingly, even with this constraint, a flat television that hangs on a wall became a real possibility.

By the mid 1970s, calculator and clocks featured early LCD displays that operated at room temperature. Japan displayed the first LCD television a decade later, in 1984. To and through the 1990s the displays gain, especially in use as high-resolution computer monitors featuring In-Plane Switching (IPS) for wide viewing angles. The enormous televisions came next, ever-larger flat-screens at ever-lower prices.

No sooner did prices fall than every person who could possibly want a screen owned one. LCD screens hung on walls and sat in pockets, powering everything from phones to enormous displays.

Eventually, Heilmeier left to lead DARPA then, later, worked as a Vice President of Texas Instruments. He was briefly CEO of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).