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Web advert giant (Google) crams cash into Glass eyeball-chip brainiacs

Juicy stake in liquid silicon biz Himax Display gobbled

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Google has snaffled a 6.3 per cent share of chip designer Himax Display to supply components for its wearable Glass computer.

The advertising giant's investment will give the Taiwanese biz enough cash to ramp up production of liquid crystal on silicon chips (LCOS), which will be vital in the building of head-mounted displays. Google's Android-powered Glass works by beaming graphics into the wearer's eyeballs, and talks to a nearby smartphone for internet access.

Under the agreement [PDF] Himax Display will increase its R&D, pay off a loan from its mother company Himax Technologies, and expand its production.

The deal will close in the third quarter of 2013, and Google will have the opportunity to buy up to 15 percent of the Taiwanese firm, whose other shareholders include Intel Capital Corporation.

“Beginning the second quarter of this year, we had already begun expanding capacity to meet demand for our LCOS product line," said Jordan Wu, president and chief executive officer of Himax.

Himax Display was founded in 2004 and builds imaging processing hardware: it claims to be a "world leader" in the manufacture of integrated display circuits and timing controllers which are used in TVs, laptops, car navigation systems and many other consumer products. ®

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