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Kent Displays creates chameleon-like electronics, adding jobs

What's your favorite color? That question may seem inconsequential now, but for those about to drop $1,000 on a sporty new laptop it can be downright paralyzing.

Thanks to the creative geniuses at Kent Displays, future laptop owners will be able to change the exterior colors of their machines with the proverbial flick of a switch. Cloaked in the company's Reflex LCD eSkin, a paper-thin liquid crystal display, devices such as laptops, smartphones and MP3 players can change appearances as quickly as a chameleon.

Founded by Dr. J. William Doane, former director of Kent State University's Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent Displays is a pioneer in cholesteric liquid crystal technology. Unlike standard LCDs that require a constant source of power, Reflex displays will retain an image indefinitely, even when the power is off.

The eSkin application is only the "tip of the iceberg," says Kevin Oswald, Kent Display's communications director. A new portable hard drive from Verbatim, for example, uses the technology to display available space even when the USB drive is disconnected.

Perhaps more impressive is the environmentally friendly eNote, a portable writing tablet. Consumers use a stylus to write on the pressure-sensitive display, eliminating the need for pen and paper.

While 99 percent of glass LCDs are still manufactured in Asia, Kent Display's plastic LCDs are produced on site at its Kent, Ohio facilities.

Kent Displays currently employs 60 people, but with the impending release of its eNote Tablet, and expected wide-spread adoption of its eSkin application, that number is expected to grow.

Source: Kevin Oswald, Kent Displays
Writer: Douglas Trattner

MesoCoat giving bridges, barges a new lease on life; adding jobs

What if you could paint your house this fall knowing you wouldn't have to do it again for another 100 years?

That's the prospect facing those who maintain large steel structures like bridges and battleships, thanks to an innovative new coating and application process developed by MesoCoat, Inc., of Euclid.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the annual cost of corrosion nationally is $442 billion, or 3.1 percent of the gross domestic product. The estimated cost in Ohio alone is $15 billion.

MesoCoat is addressing that problem by developing a coating to replace the noxious chrome-based applications that have been the mainstay of corrosion control. But here's the best part: According to MesoCoat President and CEO Andrew Sherman, the new coating will last at least 100 years, compared to the current eight to 20 years. It's as cheap as current materials without the hazardous chemicals associated with traditional processes.

The patented coating, called PComP, was initially developed for application within the aerospace industry, extending the life of components such as shafts, actuators and landing gears. Now the company is preparing to launch FarCoat equipment that will match PComP with nanocomposite coatings for application to very large structures such as ships and bridges.

Over the next two years, Sherman expects both the coatings and the application technology to be available for use nationally.

MesoCoat, formed in 2007, now employs six, is looking to fill three open spots and, as its Series A financing is completed, will add another five. "When we transition into the marketplace we will about double," Sherman says.

Source: Andrew Sherman
Writer: Gene Monteith

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