Startup aims to revolutionise touchscreen industry with candy-floss like technology

You probably never heard of Cambrios but this company could be onto something big and become the ARM of so-called transparent conductors thanks to the backing of Samsung and other technology giants. I met with Sri Peruvemba, Cambrios’ CMO, to experience firsthand the technology.

What Cambrios offers is a substance that can coat the touchscreen element of a screen with a mesh of silver wires that are so thin that they are invisible to the naked eye. The company has a strong IP portfolio on the technology with nearly 200 pending, issued or allowed patents which places it in a unique situation.

What the firm aims to do is displace Indium Tin Oxide, commonly known as ITO, with silver nano wires which is not only more affordable but also more versatile and is a better electrical conductor. ITO is widely used in a number of applications. LCD, e-ink, OLED, solar cells, antitstatic coating, EMI shielding etc.

But it is its application as a touchscreen enabler that is the most popular and Cambrios’ ClearOhm achieves something akin to a technological miracle as it provides with enhanced functionalities at cheaper price points. It offers higher conductivity, the ability to be curved plus enhanced flexibility. What’s more it boosts one of the highest light transmission percentages of any comparable technologies with some significant gains when it comes to durability.

Switching to ClearOhm could translate in a very near future into cheaper devices (thanks to a lower bill of materials), thinner ones (as it requires one less sheet of glass), more durable and more flexible. ITO also requires a longer process and more chemicals than ClearOhm which only adds to the cost of production.

Peruvemba also mentions that one litre of the liquid is enough for 10,000 4.3in displays, that the technology eliminates the common moire effect completely and that the entire global production can currently be housed in an area about the size of a basketball court.

But this doesn’t stop here. Because of the versatility of the technology, it can be modified to produce 3D panels, flexible displays, OLED displays/lightning, solar panels and in the automotive industry, bringing in the same USPs to these markets. There's no limitation to the size and to the prospects because the production process is akin to that of a printer with the SNW used rather than ink; production facilities can slot die coat on surfaces 1,500mm wide.

It is not a surprise therefore that Samsung Venture Investment Corporation is one of the investors in Cambrios and TPK, the global leader in touchscreen technology, has already committed to use it as its “major weapon to penetrate mid-to-low-end” segments.