Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Future of Communications...

Despite how cool we might think our smartphones are, they are still very conventional.  It is the designers, that see the future in beauty and grace.

Cell phones are about to go through a wondrous transformation.  The issues of keyboards vs. screens to type on, the small screens as opposed to computers with large screen will be things of the past.  The battery life of phones will also no longer be an issue.  All of these advancements, depend on one science - nanotechnology.  Once we are able to produce items with nanomaterials, all these breakthroughs will come flooding around us.  Most people, who were not aware of the these breakthroughs in nanoscience, will think it has happened suddenly and will undergo a sort of future shock.

Dual Screen Devices/Malleable Screen
There have been some devices that have been announced with dual screens.  Here is a review of the Toshiba Libretto W100.

Toshiba's unit is still ho-hum.  It is still trying to run Windows 7.  This is a problem because Windows 7 was never really designed for a touch interface.  The touchable areas are too small.  Toshiba has put a normal laptop Intel chip which will assure that the battery life is short.  It also runs very hot, where we are warned to remove all plastic labels so they do not melt! This is hardly the vision of the future.

Dual screens are already a thing of the past.  The true future, in our view, belongs to malleable, stretchable screens, which will resemble paper. Sony has manufactured some devices with the relatively new OLED technology, but has not really marketed it yet.

Phillips has a much better concept in their epaper technology as can be seen from this silent demo video. We have yet to see any products from them using it.

Dr. Andrew Steckl
AMOLED 0.01cm thick
In 2009, Phillips vision was to "skin" items with screens. This to us IS the future. Already buildings in major cities are being covered with screens to display advertising or merely to adorn the building.  One idea Phillips has is for liquid containers to change color when they are either hot or cold.   One process for ePaper is to attach it to disposable regular paper, as discovered by Professor Steckl from the the University of Cincinnati.  This ePaper would be of a short term duration and would be disposed of after a day of use.  Epson has also developed some of this ePAper, which at least at the time of 2006, was the thinnest ePaper produced.  Just recently, in October of 2010, in Taiwan, researchers produced a 6" AMOLED, which can render images even when folded.  The technology that Phillips is pursuing will transform the home,  with the walls coated with this material, colors can change instantly, redecoration, as well as videos and images displayed.  For a exhaustive guide to all ePaper technology go here.  We will quote from the introduction to this excellent guide:
For almost three decades, electronic paper technologies have been evolving to combine the flexibility of digital information with the familiarity, quality, and convenience of a paper-like substrate. More than a dozen companies have announced work on active e-paper programs, and there are a number of start-ups coming to existence as well. The production structure of electronic paper is fairly complex. E-paper is based on IP/technology developed by a handful of technology developers. In many cases this manufacturing is contracted out. In addition, E-paper generally needs some kind of backplane that is manufactured by another group of firms. It is important to note that there is an additional group of firms—consumer product firms—who design and market the product into which the e-paper display fits. For example, the e-readers marketed under the Sony brand have incorporated e-paper technology from E Ink and backplane technology from Polymer Vision.
LG has announced a form of ePaper in January of this year.
If the refresh rate is decent, we could have truly portable computers that make our current wave of netbooks and slim laptops look like dinosaurs. Computers that roll up, slide into an envelope, not even requiring a case to carry them and protect them. With a water proof coating, these thin computers of the future will be able to withstand anything, and manufacturers like LG are paving the way.**
The key obstacle to all this technology is still the flexibility.  If this issue can be overcome, it will be truly revolutionary.  A very promising display has already been mentioned in a previous post on eReaders on this blog.  Qualcomm, is supposed to release their Marisol display, this fall.

So far, we have not seen any dramatic product release.

3D Displays Coming
Intel, LG, Google and Apple (no doubt) are all competing to produce a 3D touch display, which will revolutionize how we interact with computers forever.

See These Pages:

Get ready for a very exciting and different world!

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