Kent State, liquid crystal company receive grant for $8 million

Caroline Lautenbacher

Kent Displays, Inc., recently received $8 million from the Third Frontier project for further development of liquid crystal technology. LESLIE CUSANO | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

Kent Displays, Inc. has something to smile about.

In December, an $8 million grant was awarded to the organization to help develop uses for liquid crystal technology.

John Griffin, manager of Business University Partnerships for the Ohio Department of Development, said the grant is from Third Frontier, a statewide, $1.6 billion project that will use science and technology to “turn the state of Ohio’s economy around.” Voters passed the Third Frontier project in 2004, Griffin said.

“The project is using liquid crystal films for very advanced product development,” he said. “It is helping individual companies to develop new products and expand their job opportunities in Ohio.”

Although the first liquid crystal display was invented at Kent State, Griffin said they are now mostly produced in Asia.

Joel Domino, president of Kent Displays said the money will be used to create flexible LCDs on plastic, which will include “anything from laptops, televisions to wrist watches.”

He said Kent Displays is collaborating on the project with Kent State and the University of Akron, as well as with several other companies, and added that many employees working on the project are graduates of Kent State.

“Our goal is to develop and commercialize here in Ohio,” he said.

Gwendolyn McDay, coordinator for the Fund of our Economic Future, said many philanthropic communities pulled together to raise money for the regional project; her organization gave $1.5 million.

“Economic development really needs to happen in a region setting, not smaller, like a city,” McDay said.

Contact general assignment reporter Caroline Lautenbacher at [email protected].