Head, Advanced Technology Program OLEDs, GE Global Research Niskayuna, New York
VP, LCD Group, Samsung
San Jose, California
Birnbaum, 48, helps Samsung think about how LED applications can push consumer electronics to do more than ever before.
"Today, we use LED for backlighting, which enables a very slim form — the width of your finger — plus higher contrast ratio, better picture quality, and longer battery life. Those same LEDs can be turned on and off at a very high frequency, much higher than what your eyes can notice. We recently demonstrated visual light technology that uses the backlighting on a notebook, computer, or digital sign to broadcast a frequency of light. Samsung has so many devices that can operate well with each other, this can make a kind of unique statement. If you see a TV ad for a new car, you can hold up an enabled device such as a cell phone and capture which dealers are selling that car, at what price, and what incentives are being offered. Things that can't normally be shown on a television commercial or an airport sign can reach consumers in a much more personal way. I'm a gadget guy. It's really fun to look into the future to see what consumer experiences are going to look like."
A version of this article appeared in the February 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.