Previous news story    Next news story

Fujifilm harnesses silver for new touch-screen technology

By dpreview staff on Mar 11, 2013 at 19:22 GMT

Fujifilm is looking to bring down the cost of touch screen technology by harnessing materials and manufacturing expertise used in creating film emulsions.Touch screens are quickly becoming the standard interface of nearly every piece of mobile technology. Currently these screens utilize the fairly rare metal, indium. Due to its rarity, indium is responsible for a significant portion in the cost of current touch screen displays. According to Cody Acree, an analyst at Williams Financial Group indium alone adds up to $180 in cost for a 23 - 27" display. Fujifilm hopes to use its long history with silver to bring down the cost of these displays and grab a piece of the quickly expanding touch screen market.(via Bloomberg)

Comments

Total comments: 78
cassano
By cassano (Mar 12, 2013)

It's kind of amusing to see people are worrying about touch-screen cameras here. Touch-screen on camera is lame, but in many other areas, it shines. smart phones, tablet PCs, car's console, ATMs, POS machines. I went to a local medical center a few days ago, they have huge touch screens near every entrance -- for you to navigate inside the building, find you doctor, etc. I have also seen touch screens in book stores, libraries, subways, etc.

Touch screen forces UI designers to design simpler UI, software developers to hide details and only expose the essential APIs. It frees the user from overly complex menu systems. It only makes our life easier, faster. Of course, touch screens cannot replace buttons on a DSLR, or keyboard/mouse for a PC -- for complicated tasks.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
TimR-Niagara
By TimR-Niagara (Mar 14, 2013)

comment removed

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Ed_arizona
By Ed_arizona (Mar 12, 2013)

Pretty soon will have Gold award for Tablet cameras, where touch screen rules, touch screen cameras belong in Wal-Mart

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 12, 2013)

And I'm remembering a line from one of the Star Trek movies where Scotty mentions "Transparent Aluminum". Innovation is fun to watch.

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Mar 12, 2013)

Please make cheap oil substitute next.

1 upvote
06m1r3m86
By 06m1r3m86 (Mar 12, 2013)

There already is one, hydrogen fuel cells. The problem is that car manufacturers aren't making cars to use it.

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 12, 2013)

Hydrogen fuel cells aren't turning out to be very practical. I wish they were, but the cost and energy density even at theoretical maximum efficiency is difficult to justify at best.

2 upvotes
old_slowhand
By old_slowhand (Mar 12, 2013)

so they dump their silver expertise into touchscreens after dumping their gelantine expertise into cosmetics, what will be next, will fuji find out that processing chemicals may be re-used as a soy sauce substitute?

cheers, martin

0 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Mar 12, 2013)

touch screen for newbs; buttons for pros....period

5 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Mar 12, 2013)

Hmm... many don't like touch screens. Everyone uses some, though.
Manufacturers find the products with no moving parts cheaper and simpler to develop, so like it or not, we'll have touch-sensitive devices in ever more aspects.
But there will also always be some button- or dial-activated versions of devices, at least when it is an advantage to operate something without having to look.
As to the costs... I still can't understand how it is cheaper to have piezo spark instead of a flint & wheel on throw-away lighters... and also how come the end user pays next to nothing for a thing like that, considering materials, labor, energy and transport around the World. Even more stupefying, sometimes the printing of ads on these lighters might cost you more than the lighter itself.
There are many products like that. So, if the new silver halide based touch screen manages to lower the production costs, even your next washing machine and fridge will have one...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Mar 12, 2013)

never liked touch screens, especially for small handheld devices, whether a smartphone or dcam. nothing worse than looking at an image captured that would never be appreciated on such tiny handheld sized screens (including larger tablet pc screens, that really aren't breathtaking to view at all).

for me, the viewing size of any image from close to far, especially at arms reach (monitors) and beyond to projection or light displays, are more enjoyable to view if the imagery/motion imagery spans the entire field of view (that easily fills the entire breadth of one's eyeglasses/viewing goggles/sunglasses/3D glasses/etc)

if a screen is intended strictly for viewing, and is relatively 'hi-res monitor' size (24"-36"), i don't want to stretch out my hands/arms all the way to the screen to manipulate images/controls, and block the full view of any image, no hand/finger intrusions please

prefer much more controls that are 'touch/actuated' outside the frame of the image screen itself

sdyue

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jorepuusa
By jorepuusa (Mar 12, 2013)

Indium is one of those rare metals found in places where child labor is common.
Every touchscreen means that a 7-10 years old child is working in inhuman places and they die like flies. And Dpreview discusses about proper grammatics!

2 upvotes
Zdman
By Zdman (Mar 12, 2013)

No it isn't. Indium is most abundant in Canada which as far as I'm aware isn't into Child labour. You're thinking of Tantalum which is also in every smartphone.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
sunhorse
By sunhorse (Mar 12, 2013)

@jorepuusa

Where is your source for your claim? As Zdman says, Indium is produced in Canada. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indium

0 upvotes
jorepuusa
By jorepuusa (Mar 12, 2013)

Wikipedia is how one reads it.
--------
China is a leading producer of indium. The Teck Cominco refinery in Trail, British Columbia, is a large single source indium producer, with production of 32.5 tonnes in 2005, 41.8 tonnes in 2004 and 36.1 tonnes in 2003. South American Silver Corporation's Malku Khota property in Bolivia is a large resource of indium with an indicated resource of 1,481 tonnes and inferred resource of 935 tonnes.[30] Adex Mining Inc.’s Mount Pleasant Mine in New Brunswick, Canada, holds some of the world’s total known indium resources.[31]
---------
China and Bolivia are places where child labor is common.
So, Yeas I am right here.

0 upvotes
tokugawa
By tokugawa (Mar 12, 2013)

While you're certainly not wrong in that there is also Indium production in China, your logic in determining that it is produced with child labour is flawed and a logical fallacy.

That is the same logic as saying:
- Irish people drink beer
- Person X is irish
- Therefore, X drinks beer

Obviously X doesn't necessarily drink beer as not every irish person drinks beer. Same as in China: while child labour does exist (and it is likely that Indium is indeed in some way also produced with child labour), it is a logical fallacy to assume that the entire production of Indium is produced with child labour.

That does not take away from the fact that Child Labour - no matter in how low percentages - is wrong, of course. I just don't think flawed logic helps either.

1 upvote
Matt1645f4
By Matt1645f4 (Mar 12, 2013)

Based on current estimates there's only 25-35 years left in the ground but less than 1% is recycled each year. How ever many countries have adopted a policy of sending their rubbish to poor nations where many children do earn a living by finding our valuable rubbish for recycling.

0 upvotes
Murray Rothbard
By Murray Rothbard (Mar 12, 2013)

I find touch screens to be not particularly useful myself, at least on the small screens of digital cameras. I find it faster and more consistently accurate to just turn a dial or press a button to navigate rather than touching or dragging my finger across the screen.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Mar 12, 2013)

Indium tin oxide, ITO. It's transparent and conducts electricity. The search for a cheaper, non-indium alternative that works as well has been going on for years with surprisingly little success. If Fuji can crack it more power to them, but this is not a simple problem...

0 upvotes
starwolfy
By starwolfy (Mar 12, 2013)

Am I the only one not to like touch-screen ? I think I am doomed regarding mobile devices and camera. I should try to get use to it... ;)

3 upvotes
xlynx9
By xlynx9 (Mar 12, 2013)

In any case, Indium is used in ALL LCDs, not just touch screens.

2 upvotes
SheikYerbouti
By SheikYerbouti (Mar 12, 2013)

No, you're not the only one. I've been feeling "doomed" since years because of all sorts of developments I'm not happy about ... from wide-screen displays (no choice!) to the dumbing-down of the general public and the resulting conformism, fanboyism and infantilism of large numbers of people ... too much to get into here.

1 upvote
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Mar 12, 2013)

I am with you(doomed, hehehe). But my case is about cell phone though. It's faster to type using the usual keypad. On the bright side, I like the large display.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Mar 12, 2013)

A $21 billion revenue company. Go Fuji.

1 upvote
SheikYerbouti
By SheikYerbouti (Mar 12, 2013)

Fanboy? Sucker for anything "corporate"? Capitalist stooge? Any personal integrity left?

0 upvotes
Ahmet Aydogan
By Ahmet Aydogan (Mar 12, 2013)

I think it's more of a reflection on how a film based company continues to reinvent itself unlike others cough*Kodak*cough who are in bankruptcy.

0 upvotes
mjolnirq
By mjolnirq (Mar 12, 2013)

[Off-topic] question about language :)

I am a non-native English speaker, and the sentence

a) "Currently these screens utilize the fairly rare metal, indium"

caught my attention. Is it grammatically correct or should it read either

b) "Currently these screens utilize the fairly rare metal indium"

or

c) "Currently these screens utilize a fairly rare metal, indium"

? Both version b) and version c) would have an exact correspondent for the use of the comma in Italian, my native language, but the use of the comma as in a) would be unusual/wrong in Italian, hence the question.

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 12, 2013)

Nothing wrong with the original sentence. It's a structure often used for emphasis of the object as opposed to the subject.

0 upvotes
Pythagoras
By Pythagoras (Mar 12, 2013)

i'm going to reply because i have a masters degree in applied linguistics and 10 years of teaching english grammar to foreign students. technically you're right, there shouldn't be a comma. but 99% of native speakers won't "feel" like it's wrong when they read this sentence. comma usage in english is fluid, similar to fashion. at this point the sentence in question might actually be acceptable, even if the logic isn't there.
and finally, there are lots of examples where english comma rules differ from romance languages. giving a list is the first one that comes to mind. reporting speech is another one.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Mar 12, 2013)

"Currently, these screens utilize a fairly rare metal-indium"

.. ?

0 upvotes
xlynx9
By xlynx9 (Mar 12, 2013)

I think C would be the most correct because "the" would be more appropriate if used with a name rather than an ordinary noun (indium). But I would replace the comma with a semicolon (;) to be technically correct. http://theoatmeal.com/comics/semicolon

0 upvotes
glutamodo
By glutamodo (Mar 12, 2013)

Grammar aside, what makes Indium "rare" anyway? From what I recall, Indium is about 3 time more abundant in the Earth's crust than the silver Fuji is talking about using. But if the silver is effective, it's got to be in concentrations that allows for monetary savings.

0 upvotes
beeguy956
By beeguy956 (Mar 12, 2013)

There's about 50% more silver than indium; somewhat more, but not a huge difference. There's still about as much indium as there is mercury. The real problem is that it's very widely scattered in tiny quantities, rather than occurring in veins of specific ores that can be readily targeted and mined.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
1 upvote
beeguy956
By beeguy956 (Mar 12, 2013)

On the original topic, Pythagoras has it exactly right. Both of the OP's sentences are technically more correct, but most native speakers would not notice the slight incongruity.

0 upvotes
nawknai
By nawknai (Mar 12, 2013)

Actually, I thought the correct way to write this sentence is:

"Currently, these screens utilize the fairly rare metal, indium."

Notice the first comma after "Currently", and the last comma after "metal".

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 12, 2013)

I think you're point is correct. But I think many of us have resorted to using a dash in situations like this. "Currently these screens utilize the fairly rare metal - indium." The reason for the separation, whether comma or dash, is to highlight the object of the sentence.

0 upvotes
Efner
By Efner (Mar 12, 2013)

Current screens utilize indium,a rare metal.

0 upvotes
imsilly
By imsilly (Mar 12, 2013)

"By Pythagoras

i'm going to reply because i have a masters degree in applied linguistics and 10 years of teaching english grammar to foreign students. technically you're right, there shouldn't be a comma. but 99% of native speakers won't "feel" like it's wrong when they read this sentence. comma usage in english is fluid, similar to fashion. at this point the sentence in question might actually be acceptable, even if the logic isn't there.
and finally, there are lots of examples where english comma rules differ from romance languages. giving a list is the first one that comes to mind. reporting speech is another one."

I fear for your students. Your own grammar isn't exactly great. Lucky for you most foreign students are unlikely to pick up on your mistakes.

Playing fast and lose with commas has become endemic to modern English. That doesn't mean it is right to throw them around without a care in the world.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 59 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Mar 12, 2013)

Next I'd like to see a screen that touches you back.

3 upvotes
Xentinus
By Xentinus (Mar 12, 2013)

Where you want it to touch first? lol
I don't like touch screens...

1 upvote
lightandday
By lightandday (Mar 12, 2013)

That thought grabs me ! Still thinking about it !

0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Mar 12, 2013)

Good!
More inventions, more business... Good for everyone.
Did we overpay your smartphones?

0 upvotes
solarsky
By solarsky (Mar 12, 2013)

SILVER??? On the short, but not on the long run. Here's why:
http://www.visualcapitalist.com/portfolio/the-silver-series-the-history-of-silver-part-1
http://www.visualcapitalist.com/portfolio/the-silver-series-supply-and-demand-part-2
http://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-silver-series-investment-part-3

1 upvote
Xoom
By Xoom (Mar 11, 2013)

This is why Fujifilm is still in business and Kodak is not. From cosmetics to medical equipment, they've done a pretty good job of evolving. At least better than Kodak.

3 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Mar 12, 2013)

"At least better than Kodak."

That isn't setting the bar very high...

1 upvote
radissimo
By radissimo (Mar 11, 2013)

Funny that Fuji is the company talking about cost of the touchscreens when they are NOT using them that much...:D

0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 12, 2013)

Thanks ! I was just about to write something about that paradox. That said, I'm a Canon and Fujifilm user and never felt the need to use a touch-screen. I find that device distracting and I hate seeing fingerprints on screens. That's why I'm not a pad user nor a touch-screen monitor either. But maybe am I already a man of the past who doesn't understand the modern pleasures ? Fortunately, I think I'm not the only one to feel this way...

0 upvotes
abolit66
By abolit66 (Mar 11, 2013)

technology, shmenology, learn how to make a decent camera first, Fuji!

0 upvotes
Felts
By Felts (Mar 11, 2013)

What like the XP1, XE1, X100, X100s or the X20? Can't get much better than those in my opinion...

19 upvotes
chexmixing
By chexmixing (Mar 11, 2013)

Yes, they're decent cameras. However, these cameras (at least the released ones) all have focusing issues. If the cameras could focus consistently, they would be MUCH better.

0 upvotes
WT21
By WT21 (Mar 11, 2013)

slower to focus using CDAF is not really 'focusing issues'

They're good cameras.

2 upvotes
Arenas
By Arenas (Mar 11, 2013)

@chexmixing

Focusing issues on the newer X100S and X20? 0.08 seconds not fast enough for you?

1 upvote
Daniel from Bavaria
By Daniel from Bavaria (Mar 12, 2013)

I can only laugh on that polemnism.
The focus of the X-Series is not the fastest yet, but for sure it works very good, is meanwhile fast enough for the most stuff and is the most accurate I've worked with so far.

I still not get why people like to bash on different brands and writing up such nonsense. If you write something you should be able to at least share substantly experience with these cameras and you should be able to proof it somehow. Otherwise it is just fart in the wind.

Regards,
Daniel

3 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 12, 2013)

"Otherwise it is just fart in the wind."
Are we talking here of "fartography" ?

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 12, 2013)

Fuji has and continues to make some very good cameras. They made great view camera lenses and enlarger lenses. And they made some bang up medium format stuff - their glass was always known for sharpness and color rendition. Granted, film was their primary business, but they are no stranger to cameras and glass. I used to lust after this:

http://www.dannyburk.com/images/fuji-680-2.jpg

To say that they have focus problems and therefore don't make a decent camera is also to damn Canon and Nikon as not making decent cameras because they have dust issues or need firmware updates to cure focus issues. (Both Nikon and Canon are guilty here...)

There's no reason for this kind of statement. Any camera maker who's still around making cameras today is doing something right. Notice that Kodak (the other big film company) is going through chapter 11 while Fuji is thriving...

0 upvotes
Sdabur
By Sdabur (Mar 12, 2013)

@Abolit: Please wake up and have a look on FUJIFILM Cameras now. I guess you're still in the 80's. Please go and check FUJIFILM X-Series, HS-Series and F-Series. Compare the specs, price, performance and other key aspects, if you find them lesser than any digital camera in the market in its class, then let me know..!! but commenting without knowing anything is a shame..!!! ''Its almost similar as a Dog barking and running after a car whereas he cant make any difference to it.'' Sorry for my bad English..!!!

0 upvotes
chexmixing
By chexmixing (Mar 12, 2013)

@ Arenas

Yes I forgot that technically the X100S is indeed available... though in much of the world, it is unavailable. I hope that the X100S lives up to the autofocus hype. I was a fan of the X100 (with firmware updates), and even find its autofocus usable.

0 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Mar 11, 2013)

Great to hear that Fuji is addressing both cost and availability of a key technology for user interfaces. I hope they are successful with it.

6 upvotes
capanikon
By capanikon (Mar 11, 2013)

Touch screens are not tactile. Buttons and dials FTW.

4 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Mar 11, 2013)

Did you just use the abbreviation for "for the win?" That's a rather immature expression, but perhaps fitting when one espouses a view that touch screens and buttons and dials are some sort of dichotomy ... take a look at the definitions for "complement" and "augment" ... then grab yourself a Panasonic m4/3 camera to try out ...

1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Mar 12, 2013)

I think he meant "For The Wrecord" ;)

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 12, 2013)

Thanks God ! I thought he meant "(to) Feed The Wombles" (cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wombles ) what I felt disrespectful for us.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Mar 12, 2013)

@capanikon
Actually Apple is working on getting tactile feel to touch screens. Something about buttons that raises from the screen and deflates otherwise.

0 upvotes
sirkhann
By sirkhann (Mar 11, 2013)

I want some new photo-films and affordable full-colour, high-resolution film scanners. Can we get them, Fujifilm? Please? :)

2 upvotes
OldZorki
By OldZorki (Mar 11, 2013)

I assume that future Fujifilm cameras with 27" touchscreens will be 180 dollars cheaper? Great.

1 upvote
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 12, 2013)

No ! Just 1.8 dollars cheaper, don't forget the price one has to pay for the R&D ! Making things cheaper is expensive...

0 upvotes
keith james taylor
By keith james taylor (Mar 11, 2013)

Could save $180 on 23"-27 touch screens on" nearly every piece of MOBILE techonlogy!!! strong reporters at lest phisicaly.

0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 12, 2013)

That said, making cheaper items doesn't seem to be in line with the economical politics the Japan's Prime Minister Abe is proceeding, as he calls that sort of trend "deflation" instead of "progress". If "cheaper" is not good of our economies, why bother producing cheaper devices ?

0 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (Mar 11, 2013)

This is really going to freak out all the old people buying Fuji's for nostalgia sake. LOL. MEDIC!

0 upvotes
iforum
By iforum (Mar 11, 2013)

I doubt it old people are the ones who run t these companies the younger one are their subordinates

2 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Mar 12, 2013)

all those pixels and memory cards and on camera screens have sure been reminding me of the past too

0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Mar 11, 2013)

Touch screens may be quickly becoming the standard interface, however, for touchscreens to replace the more positive physical "touch" of real buttons and dials would be a shame. As a feature you can turn off or customize sure, but don't leave me with only touch screens please!

12 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Mar 12, 2013)

I give my ballot paper to buttons and dials !

1 upvote
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Mar 12, 2013)

Wait for the next iPhone-esk breakthrough in camera UI and you will be convinced. There are no buttons and dials cellphone anymore.

0 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Mar 12, 2013)

I like the feel of a button.

1 upvote
Matt1645f4
By Matt1645f4 (Mar 11, 2013)

Anything that can reduce cost and help the enviroment is good news

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (Mar 11, 2013)

You probably meant *silver* in your headline.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 11, 2013)

They use a sliver of silver? :)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 78