Camera Auto-Dating Module for Photographs
The camera date module that became the de facto standard in its class
Time display accuracy: Monthly rate +/- 90 seconds
Display: STN liquid crystal
Date printer: STN guest host (dichroic dye) liquid crystal with Ni mask
Size: (W) 40 x (D) 33.3 x (T)* 3.8 mm
* Maximum thickness: 5.2 mm
Weight: 6.5 g
In 1981, Epson* developed a camera date module for automatically printing times and dates onto photographs. The digital display module mounted on the rear cover of the camera was equipped with quartz digital clock functionality, as well as the function of burning the information displayed on the screen to film. Thus, once the clock was synchronized, the time and date could automatically be stamped onto pictures as they were taken. Introduced to the market as a response to the legions of users who wanted photographs to show the date taken, this function found wide acceptance in the market and brought about enormous subsequent change in the camera world. Further, this auto-dating module, at its peak, captured an astonishing market share of over 95%, making it the de facto standard in its class.
As an outgrowth of this date module business, the sale of liquid crystal display modules blossomed as a business in its own right. In the first half of the 1990s, cellular phones emerged as one new application for these products. This business line represents the genesis of our current-day business in LCD modules for mobile phones.
*Then known as Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd.