Business News: BrightSide, SloanLED, Ilumisys

May 3, 2007
Dolby Labs has acquired LED backlight specialist BrightSide, SloanLED has been acquired by Harbour Group, and Altair has launched an LED subsidiary.
Dolby acquires Brightside

Dolby Laboratories, a company best known for its acoustic expertise, has moved into the visual realm with the acquisition of BrightSide Technologies Inc, a company that specializes in high-dynamic-range (HDR) image technology.

BrightSide's development-stage technology uses LED backlighting to enable the capture, distribution, and display of more vibrant video on LCD television sets, as well as front-projection and rear-projection TVs.

Rather than use a uniform backlight, BrightSide's approach enables the LEDs to be modulated individually, so that the brightness of different regions of the backlight can be tuned to correspond with the image being displayed. This results in a very high contrast ratio of 200,000:1, compared with 600:1 for conventional CRTs and 500:1 for a good flat-panel LCD.

Harbour Group acquires signage specialist SloanLED

Harbour Group said Thursday that it bought SloanLED, a maker of LED systems, for an undisclosed amount. St. Louis-based Harbour Group is a holding company of various manufacturing companies.

SloanLED, based in Ventura, California, designs and manufactures LED systems, primarily used in signs and related applications. SloanLED's leadership will remain intact, including principals Tom Sloan and Jim Sloan.

Jeff Fox, Harbour Group's CEO, said in a statement, "SloanLED is an excellent example of our strategy to acquire growing companies that are leaders in their markets. ... Harbour Group is dedicating significant resources to SloanLED in order to accelerate the company's penetration in its existing markets while entering additional markets through both new product introductions and complementary acquisitions."

Altair subsidiary Ilumisys to build fluorescent-replacement LED lamps

Altair Engineering has formed Ilumisys, a technology spinoff that will focus on the direct replacement of fluorescent light tubes with LED lamps. Ilumisys will bring mercury-free lighting products to market that directly replace standard T-8 and T-12 fluorescent tubes. The technology offers ballast-independent operation and takes full advantage of important LED attributes, including energy efficiency, long life, temperature robustness, vibration tolerance and color control.

The initial business of the wholly owned Altair subsidiary will include technical research, product development and the establishment of distribution channels for next-generation solid-state lighting.

"We have invested heavily in technical research to extend the value of the original patent work [performed by Altair]," says Ilumisys president Dave Simon.

"The direct replacement of fluorescent light tubes with LED lamps represents continued improvement not only to our own technology, but also to core LED efficiencies. These advancements will lead to significant energy and environmental benefits. We are confident that Ilumisys will be a driving force in the development of next-generation lighting, as well as showcasing the technological expertise we have here in Michigan."