Rochester's Rise Amid Kodak's Demise
The deal is with Optimation's Kingsbury Corp., which Pollock said he purchased for a good price as the company was struggling. Pollock said the touch sensor industry is projected over the next "four or five years" to be worth $150 billion.
All tablet interfaces, including Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPads and iPhones, Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) Windows-based tablets, emerging touch-screen monitors, and other touch technology require these sensors so that capacitors can respond to your finger movements.
Until recently, most touch-screen sensors have used indium tin oxide (ITO). ITO is transparent, so you see through it when you're on, say, your iPad. But ITO is brittle and rare.
This is where Kodak and Kingsbury come in.The silver halide-based sensors aren't as transparent as the ITO ones, but Pollock argued that the sensors are ultra-thin and invisible to the naked eye. Silver halide's advantages are that it's more common and less expensive than ITO. When asked why no one had been producing silver halide sensors before, Pollock said it's because the demand for touch screens wasn't outrunning the supply of ITO sensors. Now, with major tech companies ramping up touch screen products, producers are rushing to find other sensor conductors, like silver -- some are even experimenting with copper. Kingsbury has the ability to produce Kodak's technology, which would have been difficult for the imaging company to handle because it has very little capital to start up new product wings as it emerges from bankruptcy. Pollock would not say exactly how long the licensing agreement was for, but did say it would be for "several years." Optimation's 2012 revenue was in the $60 million to $70 million range.
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