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"When I was getting started, I would go on airplanes and count the number of products with liquid crystal displays in the Sharper Image catalogs," Fergason said. "Twenty, 30, 40 products would have liquid crystal displays. Now you go to the store and all the games, all the telephones... there are hundreds of millions of products made with them."
Over the years Fergason invented a number of other LCD applications. In 1983 he was issued a patent for surface mode LCDs, which are used in products ranging from welding helmets to 3D video viewing systems. The following year he licensed a patent for polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs) to Raychem Corporation. These displays are used to make privacy windows that can change from clear to opaque with the flip of a switch.
In 2001, Fergason founded Fergason Patent Properties, a company that broadly licenses his intellectual property on a non-exclusive basis to expand and enable new markets for electronic displays.
The company is currently developing three new LCD-based technologies. System Synchronized Brightness Control (SSBC) improves the contrast and dynamic range of LCDs in flat-panel televisions, desktop and laptop computer monitors, rear-projection televisions and presentation projectors. StereoMirror(TM) 3D Monitors bring a new level of brightness, color saturation and sharpness to stereo 3D desktop monitors. The RetroVue(TM) Head Mounted Projector is a sophisticated simulation system for in-vehicle training.
A Champion of Independent Inventors
In addition to his impact on today's consumer electronics industry, Fergason also champions the interests of independent inventors.