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Cobra strikes to create first curved screen for video simulators

PARKES, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: (EDITORS NOTE: A POLARIZING FILTER WAS USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS IMAGE): The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) Parkes Observatory radio telescope points to the sky October 27, 2006 in Parkes, Australia. The telescope, affectionately known as

PARKES, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: (EDITORS NOTE: A POLARIZING FILTER WAS USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS IMAGE): The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) Parkes Observatory radio telescope points to the sky October 27, 2006 in Parkes, Australia. The telescope, affectionately known as "The Dish" is currently observing pulsars at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. The Dish is one of the largest radio telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere, and was used by NASA during the Apollo moon missions. The Dish also starred in a massively popular Australian movie of the same name in 2000. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

  • by PETER RANSCOMBE
 

TECHNOLOGY normally found inside satellites and telescopes has been used by a Scottish company to create what it believes is the world’s first curved display.

Livingston-based Cobra Simulation, which was set up in March, is in talks to sell its device in Germany, New Zealand and the United States, as well as in its home market.

The company has been working with electronics firms including Acer, JVC and Optoma to test its display equipment with their projectors.

Cobra said the curved screens could be used to train pilots for remotely-controlled helicopters and other aircraft, as well as being used as flight simulators or for video conferencing.

The giant displays could also be used for high-end computer games and entertainment, such as “immersive” films.

Alexander Bradley, Cobra’s managing director, spent ten years working for Vodafone before leaving to set up his own simulator company. He said his ambition to launch the company came from his interest in aviation and cars.

Bradley said: “People who have used the displays have compared them to Imax screens at cinemas, which give a wrap-around effect.”

Cobra raised £75,000 from investors during a funding round in September and already employs three staff. Bradley hopes to grow the headcount to about five over the next 12 months.

Cobra – which has received support from Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise – has also been working with Projection Design, a company that supplies equipment for British Airway’s flight simulators.

Cobra assembles its displays – which sell for £6,000 plus VAT – in West Lothian using components made in England and New Zealand and combined with software written in Portugal.

“It was important to me to buy from British suppliers whenever we could,” he added. “The display, the hood and the metal framework all comes from England.”

Cobra is the latest in a string of Scottish companies to develop display technology.

Micro-Emissive Displays was spun out of Edinburgh and Napier Universities in 1999 and floated on Aim in 2004. The company is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for building the smallest television screen but was an early victim of the credit crunch, falling into administration in 2008.

Dalgety Bay-based Forth 
Dimension Displays (FDD) was snapped up last year by New York-listed Kopin in an $11 million (£7m) deal. FDD makes tiny screens that are used in medical and military equipment, as well as in movie cameras and turns over about $6m a year.

 

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