Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Future of Displays

So I was looking through the gaming magazines at the grocery store with absolutely no intention of buying one, when I saw that the latest EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) had a bunch of articles on the future of gaming, including a promising tag line about paper-thin displays. Needless to say I was intrigued by this, so I left the store and magazines to ponder.

Inevitably, I got distracted by one shiny object or another, but eventually, I started to look stuff up. I found at least 3 different companies rushing to try to make paper-thin displays in three different ways. One uses tiny molecules, black on one side and white on another, "floating" in the paper and sends a current to the flip them in the desired pattern, another (the most popular now) uses OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) that make up a thin flexible screen comparable to most LCD screens available now, and the third I can't even remember. But it got me to thinking, as most things do. Didn't I hear something about a holographic display being developed? As interesting as the concept of paper-thin, flexible screens is, the concept of 3D interactive screens appeals more to the geek in me.

So I looked it up. I found not a holographic screen, but a heliodisplay (the sites were very insistent on making this distinction). The screen, developed by IO2 uses a finely controlled layer of mist to allow a computer screen to be projected on. The latest interactive model, the M3i, plugs right into a USB port and detect someone disrupting the display with a finger to allow for rudimentary dragging controls (unfortunately, no double-clicking). That's just awesome, but I still have to think - do I really want my display device for my computer to be spraying water into the air next to delicate equipment? I think not. I think I'll just wait for holograms.

1 comment:

Jonathan.Glance said...

Good topic and discussion, Chris. Thanks for including the link, too; I had not seen any discussions of this technology before.

I agree that I want to keep water away from my computer. I remember reading about a water-cooled high end computer, and thinking that seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.