Coming Soon to a Wrist Near You: MicroLED Displays

Apple and others expect bright and efficient, microLEDs to extend the life of your smart-watch battery

3 min read
Photo: Plessey
Bright Light: This transparent microLED display from Plessey Semiconductors appears bright even against ambient light.
Photo: Plessey

The race for the next great display technology may be nearing the finish line. British chipmaker Plessey Semiconductors claims it will be the first to market with a microLED display—a screen in which each pixel is made from bright, efficient gallium nitride–based LEDs. The company plans to begin selling a monochrome display in the first half of 2018. But Plessey is, in fact, a latecomer to a crowded field that includes big names like Apple, Facebook, and cash-caffeinated startups around the world.

They’re all chasing a display that offers orders of magnitude more brightness and double or triple the efficiency of today’s technologies. Though it’s difficult to see microLEDs being practical for screens much bigger than smartphones, there are plenty of smaller displays that desperately need brightness and efficiency, especially for smart watches and augmented-reality systems.

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The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?

4 min read
Six men and a woman smiling.

The luminaries who dared predict the future of the transistor for IEEE Spectrum include: [clockwise from left] Gabriel Loh, Sri Samavedam, Sayeef Salahuddin, Richard Schultz, Suman Datta, Tsu-Jae King Liu, and H.-S. Philip Wong.


The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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