cardiac surgeon Dr D Janardhana Reddy and L Narayanan,
MD, Silicon Labs, talk to V Jagannathan on their innovative
double-sided monitors for PCs and laptops, that will soon
be on shop shelves.
The software engineer sitting before Dr D Janardhana Reddy,
head of the cardio-thoracic surgical unit was speechless.
Sitting opposite the cardiac surgeon, he was watching
Dr Reddy''s laptop with astonishment.
because the doctor had made a startling disclosure about
his father''s health. Nor was it because the surgeon showed
him something unusaual on his laptop. But it was the way
the laptop that was so unusual.
laptop, an unbranded product, had a back-to-back dual
screen. "He couldn''t believe what he was seeing,
more so since he was an IT professional. He seemed dazed
at the product and didn''t pay attention to me for nearly
ten minutes," recalls Dr Reddy. The doctor then explained
to the software professional that the dual-screen laptop
was his own patented invention that was pending being
Chennai surgeon explains what sparked the idea for a dual-display
computer, "One evening a sales representative, who
called on me was trying to show me his company''s products
on his laptop. Whenever he turned the laptop around for
the screen to face me he, was unable to see and convey
what he was trying to explain and, whenever, he turned
the laptop towards himself, I could see only the rear
of the screen."
home an idea struck him: why not have a dual-screen
a back-to-back screen laptop. As a surgeon he began visualising
how that would ease his job of explaining a heart-valve
block to patients and their families. "They wouldn''t
have to cluster around my table to look at my laptop.
I also imagined how my grandchildren could be taught their
alphabets with the dual-screen computer," he adds.
comes easily to this cardiac surgeon who is held in high
regards in the field of reconstructing damaged hearts
caused by heart attacks. He has developed and patented
a couple of innovative products that are being used in
cardio-thoracic surgical procedures.
reaching home, Dr Reddy called his friend L Narayanan,
managing director, Silicon Labs Pvt Ltd, to find out the
possibility and feasibility of developing such a product.
The Rs2-crore turnover Silicon Labs manufactures medical
devices like electrocardiographs (ECG), pulse oxymetry,
defibrillator, pacemaker, central monitoring stations
for intensive care units, nerve locators and monitors
for operation theatres, etc.
a masters'' degree-holder in engineering instrumentation
from the Madras Institute of Technology, too, was keenly
attracted to the idea. It was nothing but natural as his
company has several firsts to its credit in India. Silicon
Labs is the first Indian company to design and manufacture
pulse oxymetry, ECG monitors and similar products. The
company was also the first to come out with a health station
a set of small gadgets that would measure a person''s
blood pressure, height, weight, pulse rate, blood glucose
and cholesterol levels.
Narayanan, "I immediately realised that his idea
was feasible." The next day Narayanan dismantled
one of the laptops in his office to understand the circuits
and the signals that run the equipment. This happened
six months ago.
on August 31, 2005, the duo officially unveiled two prototype
of back-to-back dual screen thin film transistor (TFT)
technology laptop and desk top monitor, with multi functional
utilities to the world. Before that they had secured an
international patent for their innovation.
Narayanan, "The laptop / monitor allows users seated
on either side of a table to simultaneously view, communicate
and digitally interact with content." The monitor
also enables simultaneous internet browsing.
the use to which the dual screen monitor could be put
to is actually limited only by imagination. With the help
of software one can even partially mask the content and
display information selectively on any one side (useful
in commercial applications) and also provide interactive
tools and features on any one side. "It also helps
in parent child-computer interaction, and trainer-trainee
or student-teacher interactive learning, corporate and
professional presentations and discussions, presentation
of dynamic interactive content in sales and marketing,
retail billing and many others.
is another huge area where these monitors have an application.
The monitors have the facility of switching off of any
one side for single use.
how the product was designed Narayanan says, "We
decided to tinker with the existing screens. The prime
challenges were circuit design, procurement of components
and making the equipment electromagnetic interference
(EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards
focused on the monitors'' display processor output. Two
buffers prior to the video output level were added. The
integration involves mechanical and electronic assembly.
This resulted in a product that validated the concept.
The first set of prototype was ready two months ago. However
the first prototypes were fine-tuned to eliminate signal
clashes to come out with X View. "On the whole
we stripped around 20 laptops."
to Dr Reddy, "Corporates that declare higher spend
on research and development just claim tax exemptions."
product is currently undergoing design changes to the
dual-screen monitors and the final version is expected
to be ready in another two months time.
cost of dual screen monitors would be Rs15,000 more than
the conventional laptop / LCD monitors.
doctor-engineer duo has roped in management consultant,
K Sadagopan, director, KriativPlanet Pvt Ltd to help them
commercialise their dual screen monitors. "Talks
are on with few international players - original equipment
manufacturers (OEM) and computer companies to license
has also developed a new motherboard for which a patent
is awaited. The motherboard would enable writing new software
programmes specially for to dual screen monitors. "The
monitors would revolutionise the motherboard design and
in turn change the hardware industry," remarks Narayanan.