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What could be more convenient than downloading an e-book to your computer? The only drawback is it forces you to read it on a computer. If you want to use it like a traditional paperbound book, by slipping it into a purse or backpack, you would have to either print it to paper or load the file into a pocket device; such as a Blackberry, an iPod, a PDA, or a mobile phone. Unfortunately, doing so makes the text so small it becomes nearly impossible to read. But, now with the advent of flexible active-matrix displays from Plastic Logic, reading electronic documents like you would read a book will be possible.

“Plastic Logic is the outstanding leader in plastic electronics manufacturing, a revolutionary new technology for printing electronic devices. The company will be the first to apply the new technology to a fully commercial application: flexible active-matrix displays.”

Below is information from their website on how the process works.

PROCESS

Flexible Display

Plastic Logic’s backplanes enable thin, light, robust and flexible electronic reader products.

To address the market opportunity for flexible active-matrix displays, Plastic Logic has developed the first process for printing electronic circuits on plastic substrates to be ramped-up to an industrial scale. Not only is the process capable of making incredibly thin, light and robust displays, it is considerably simpler than conventional amorphous silicon based processes.In an active-matrix display, each dot on the display is controlled by an active switching element, usually a thin film transistor (TFT), and by the signals on an array of intersecting row and column electrodes. Up to now, the TFTs have been fabricated with amorphous silicon deposited at high temperature on a rigid glass substrate. This requires a complex process of multiple mask-based photolithography steps.

The array of switching elements and the row and column electrodes are fabricated on a substrate to create an active-matrix backplane. The backplane can be combined with many display frontplane technologies such as LCD, OLED or electrophoretic ‘electronic paper’ to make a display.

In the case of electronic readers, the most attractive frontplane technology is electronic paper. This has the appearance of paper and is bi-stable so that it only uses power when the image changes. A number of electronic reader products have been launched using electronic paper such as the Sony Reader and the iRex Illiad which both use electronic paper laminate from E Ink (E Ink Imaging Film® ).

Even though electronic paper is typically thin and flexible, a rigid display results when it is combined with a glass-based amorphous silicon backplane. Plastic Logic’s flexible backplane technology enables the display, and therefore the reader device itself, to become flexible, thin, light and robust so that it feels much more like a sheet of paper.

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From their January 3, 2007 press release:

New volume manufacturing facility to ramp-up in 2008

Cambridge, UK – 3rd January 2007 – Plastic Logic announced today that it will build the first factory to manufacture plastic electronics on a commercial scale. The facility will produce flexible active-matrix display modules for ‘take anywhere, read anywhere’ electronic reader products. It will utilize Plastic Logic’s unique process to fabricate active-matrix displays that are thin, light and robust; enabling a reading experience closer to paper than any other technology.

  Plastic Logic “take anywhere, read anywhere” display using E Ink Imaging Film
High resolution images and videos available at www.plasticlogic.com/hi-res.php
 

To fund this comprehensive commercialization program, Plastic Logic has completed a first closing of $100 million of equity finance led by Oak Investment Partners and Tudor Investment Corporation. Existing investors Amadeus, which led the seed financing of Plastic Logic, Intel Capital, Bank of America, BASF Venture Capital, Quest for Growth and Merifin Capital also participated. The financing is one of the largest in the history of European venture capital.

Bandel Carano, Managing Partner at Oak, said “Plastic Logic has created a pioneering technology that will revolutionize the way that people interact with their media on the move. This investment is a perfect fit with Oak’s vision of future media interaction through handheld devices.”

Rob Broggi, Vice President and Director of Technology, Media and Telecommunications Equity Research at Tudor, added “This investment meets our objective to find and participate in the most exciting investment opportunities globally, particularly in mobile and nanotechnology sectors.”

Hermann Hauser, Director of Amadeus commented “Having backed Plastic Logic from day one, I am delighted that the first full commercialization of plastic electronics is now firmly in our sights. With this investment we are not only scaling up a great company - we are also creating a new electronics industry that will become a significant addition to silicon.”
The facility will produce display modules for portable electronic reader devices – a product category that is predicted to grow to 41.6 million units in 2010. It will have an initial capacity of more than a million display modules per year and production will start in 2008. Dresden in the ‘Silicon Saxony’ region of eastern Germany has been chosen as the facility location following an extensive worldwide site selection process.

“Our displays will enable electronic reader products that are as comfortable and natural to read as paper whether you’re on a beach, in a train or relaxing on the sofa at home.” stated John Mills, Chief Operating Officer at Plastic Logic. “Wireless connectivity will allow you to purchase and download a book or pick up the latest edition of your newspaper wherever you are and whenever you need it. The battery will last for thousands of pages so you can leave your charger at home.”

“Even in this age of pervasive digital content, our research shows that consumers are very reluctant to read on laptops, phones and PDAs,” said Simon Jones, Vice President of Product Development at Plastic Logic. “We still carry around enormous amounts of paper. However, people are making less room in their lives for the weight and bulk of paper and are becoming more sensitive to the environmental impact of printing to read. We believe there is a substantial unfulfilled need that Plastic Logic can meet by making digital reading a comfortable and pleasurable experience.”

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To learn more about electronic readers visit:

http://www.plasticlogic.com/company.php

There was an interesting article in last months Discovery Magazine on Autism. It described Autism as a “possible immune and neuroinflammatory disorder” which can be successfully treated through diet and supplements, along with various therapies.

Autism: It’s Not Just in the Head
by Jill Neimark
03.22.2007

http://discovermagazine.com/2007/apr/autism-it2019s-not-just-in-the-head

Here are some excerpts from the article:

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Meanwhile, on the sidelines of that confusing discussion, a disparate group—immunologists, naturopaths, neuroscientists, and toxicologists—is turning up clues that are yielding novel strategies to help autistic patients. New studies are examining contributing factors ranging from vaccine reactions to atypical growth in the placenta, abnormal tissue in the gut, inflamed tissue in the brain, food allergies, and disturbed brain wave synchrony. Some clinicians are using genetic test results to recommend unconventional nutritional therapies, and others employ drugs to fight viruses and quell inflammation.

Above all, there is a new emphasis on the interaction between vulnerable genes and environmental triggers, along with a growing sense that low-dose, multiple toxic and infectious exposures may be a major contributing factor to autism and its related disorders. A vivid analogy is that genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger. “Like cancer, autism is a very complex disease,” says Craig Newschaffer, chairman of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University School of Public Health, “and it’s exciting to start asking questions about the interaction between genes and environment. There’s really a very rich array of potential exposure variables.”

“I no longer see autism as a disorder of the brain but as a disorder that affects the brain,” Herbert says. “It also affects the immune system and the gut. One very striking piece of evidence many of us have noticed is that when autistic children go in for certain diagnostic tests and are told not to eat or drink anything ahead of time, parents often report their child’s symptoms improve—until they start eating again after the procedure. If symptoms can improve in such a short time frame simply by avoiding exposure to foods, then we’re looking at some kind of chemically driven ‘software’—perhaps immune system signals—that can change fast. This means that at least some of autism probably comes from a kind of metabolic encephalopathy—a systemwide process that affects the brain, just like cirrhosis of the liver affects the brain.”
Erin’s boys benefited from their DAN! doctor, she says, but it was in 2003, when she switched to a highly unconventional molecular biologist and naturopath based in Maine, Amy Yasko, that she began to see more striking changes. Yasko blends the new findings on methylation with a scientist’s background in the finer steps of fundamental detoxification pathways in the body. However, she largely favors herbs, dietary change, and nutritional supplements over prescription medications. She monitors biomarkers of detoxification in the urine as often as every week or two and tweaks supplements accordingly. Her program is intensive and steeped in molecular biology; her twice-yearly conferences are extremely dense, scientific, and intended to help parents become at least semiproficient in the biology and chemistry themselves. It is a far cry from the old doctor-patient model—Yasko works primarily on the Internet now, with phone consultations, to interpret test results. She decided to do this when her waiting list for individuals stretched to five years, and, she says, she felt she was not helping enough children. Erin e-mailed me about 40 charts of metal “dumps” for both of her boys—urinalyses Yasko had ordered and charted on a graph to show the excretion of everything from arsenic to aluminum, mercury, and lead over time. “All these little things started clicking after we started with her,” says Erin.

“I call this approach biomolecular nutrigenomics, after Bruce Ames, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California at Berkeley,” says Yasko. “He said that someday it would become routine to screen individuals for polymorphisms and that nutritional interventions to improve health were likely be a major benefit of the genomics area.” Yasko tests for common polymorphisms in the methylation pathway, even though these findings are still preliminary. This has made her controversial among her peers. Yet several doctors and scientists with autistic children admitted privately to using Yasko’s services while being unwilling to go on the record to support her.

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I think in the future we will be treating people less with pharmaceuticals and more with nutrition. I am a case in point. For the past few years I’ve been on a statin to control my cholesterol level. Last year I started losing my hair. My dermatologist thought it was due to an emotional shock to my system. But I kept losing my hair. So I went to my regular doctor, he told me to stop taking the statins. A couple of months later my hair was visibly growing back. PLUS! all the inflammations in my joints vanished. I could walk without pain in my feet, knees and hips again. I could lift things without pain in my elbows and shoulders.

Satins were poisoning me, so I am not surprised to learn how the children who suffer from Autism are most likely being poisoned by something in their environment as well. This doesn’t mean the environment in general is toxic, but that it is toxic to certain individuals whose bodies are unable to detoxify chemicals and metals from their blood, which then causes those elements to be deposited into their brain.