1. An unlikely duo. A brilliant innovation.
3M Electronics
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    An unlikely duo. A brilliant innovation.

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    An unlikely duo. A brilliant innovation.

    Two 3M scientists from different divisions—dental and electronics—combined forces to create a truly unique innovation.

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    • 3M Electronics Collaboration

      The tale of the creation one of our top display screens sounds like the beginning of a joke: What happened when the dental scientist and the electronics scientist got together?

      Only it’s not a joke. It’s a true story about a unique innovation that was born out of a collaboration between two 3M scientists working in two different divisions—one in dental and one in electronics.

      Because, as the scientists learned during conversation, the beads the dental scientist used to create fillings were also very effective at reflecting light. So effective, in fact, that the dental beads that found their way into the electronics laboratory, and incorporated into display screens. The reflective dental beads made it possible to project incredibly vivid images, even in bright indoor spaces. Today, this invention is seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to our 3M Innovation Center.

      This is the kind of story we love to tell. Because it’s the way we love to work. By utilizing product technologies from one area to create a new product solution in a different area. By tackling challenges and sharing ideas across teams, across departments, across the company. That’s how some of our most exciting new innovations are brought to life.

      And that’s how dental beads ended up on display.