Advisory Board

Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen

The Reuters article New screen technology may hit stores Dec — designer said

Computers and cell phones with screens that can be read in direct sunlight could be on store shelves by the end of this year, the designer of the breakthrough display technology said.
The high-resolution monitors switch from color to black and white, allowing the screens to be clearly viewed in direct sunlight, a feature unavailable in current high-end laptop computers that cost thousands of dollars.
The display was developed by Mary Lou Jepsen while she was working for the One Laptop per Child Foundation, which produces low-cost computers for poor children around the world.
Jepsen left her post as chief technology officer at the foundation at the end of last year to start her own company, Pixel Qi, which will license the display technology.

Mary Lou Jepsen, Ph.D. is CEO/CTO of Pixel Qi. Pixel Qi is currently pursuing the $75 laptop, while also aiming to bring sunlight readable, low-cost, and low-power screens into mainstream laptops, cellphones, and digital cameras.
Mary Lou was previously the founding chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). Notably she invented the laptop’s sunlight-readable display technology and co-invented its ultra-low-power management system. Critically, she transformed these inventions into ready-to-ship hardware, integrated into the XO laptop — the lowest-cost laptop ever made and the most environmentally friendly laptop ever made. She convinced some of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers to create the XO with her, and she managed the relationships between OLPC and them.
Spinning Pixel Qi out from OLPC enables the development of a new machine, beyond the XO, while leveraging a larger market for new technologies, beyond just OLPC: prices for next-generation hardware can be brought down by allowing multiple uses of the key technology advances. Pixel Qi will give OLPC products at cost, while also selling the sub-systems and devices at a profit for commercial use.
Previously Mary Lou’s contributions have had worldwide adoption in successful head-mounted display, HDTV, and projector products. She has been a pioneer in single-panel field-sequential projection display systems and liquid-crystal-on-silicon SoC devices. She cofounded the first company whose sole effort was the development of microdisplays in 1995 (The Microdisplay Corporation) and served as its chief technology officer through 2003. Until the end of 2004, she was the chief technology officer of Intel’s Display Division.
She authored Why Analog Silicon May Be Best for LCOS Digital TV and LCoS Rear Projection Television: A comparison of single and multi-panel projection engines, and coauthored Electronic display system for computational holography, Liquid-crystal-filled gratings with high diffraction efficiency, Optical Transfer of Master Hologram with 20 Meter Depth, MicroDisplay Subsystem of a Wireless Handheld Computer, and Rectangular surface-relief transmission gratings with a very large first-order diffraction efficiency (~95%) for unpolarized light. Read the full list of her publications!
She co-created the first holographic video system in the world at the MIT Media Lab in 1989, where the interference structure of the hologram was computed at video rates, and shown on her hand-made display. This system inspired a whole new field of holographic video and received numerous awards. Her PhD work combined rigorous theoretical coupled-wave analysis with lab work, in which she created large-scale, embossed surface-relief diffraction gratings with liquid crystal-filled grooves with high diffraction efficiency in un-polarized illumination.
Her patents include Reflective liquid crystal display with integrated compensation for skew angle rotation and birefringence effects, Method and apparatus for forming optical gratings, and Thin cell gap microdisplay with optimum optical properties.
Mary Lou earned a PhD in optics (1996), a BS in electrical engineering (1987) and a BA (req.) in studio art (1987) all from Brown University as well as an MS in holography (1989) from the MIT Media Lab.
Read A Conversation with Mary Lou Jepsen, Interview with OLPC’s Founding CTO Mary Lou Jepsen, and Future of computer design lies beyond CPU.