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Displays

Polymer Vision Produces 5" Rollable Displays 283

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the interesting-techology dept.
drquizas writes "Polymer Vision (associated with Philips) has produced a rollable display using organic electronic techniques. The display, currently measuring 5" diagonal and capable of displaying QVGA at 320x240, will eventually be targeted towards applications such as military uses (maps anyone?), newspapers and e-books."
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Polymer Vision Produces 5" Rollable Displays

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  • important factoid, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by way2trivial (601132)
    for the momment, it's monochrome.. still, a million a year-

    I for one look forward to rolling up my new overlords.

    • I was reading the cnet article this morning,
      it says that phillips should be ready to make a million a year by 2005

      http://news.com.com/2100-1041-5147643.html?t ag=cd_top

    • by kinnell (607819) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:11AM (#8099693)
      for the momment, it's monochrome

      Much like many newspapers. And we know how poor they are at displaying information.

      • by Frymaster (171343)
        for the momment, it's monochrome

        Much like many newspapers

        ah, but how many newspapers are 5" in diameter?

      • Much like many newspapers. And we know how poor they are at displaying information.

        Just like newspapers eh?

        Except that newspapers have a resolution of 200-300 dpi (at 320x240 and 5" diagonal, this device is probably only 72-80 dpi). So, not only is the screen a tad tiny (debatable), it really needs to get up to around 200dpi resolution.
      • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:23PM (#8102088) Journal
        By 2005, the rollable displays, which can now be used to read e-mail, could initially be used in military applications as electronic, updatable maps on the battlefield, van Rens predicted. The monochrome display offers four gray levels.

        Soldier 1: Where's the pickup point?
        Soldier 2: Just a sec... SHIT!
        Soldier 1: What?!?
        Soldier 2: Got to reboot the map... got a grey screen of death!

        <boom>

        <splat>

    • by FosterSJC (466265) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:13AM (#8099715)
      Actually, the production line they have built can only produce 5000 units per year. As they say, this is more than research, but less than commercial production. Also, this unit only produces black, white, and 4 types of gray. So don't expect to be able to take your pr0n with you on the road just yet in electric, rollable form.
      • by karnal (22275)
        "So don't expect to be able to take your pr0n with you on the road just yet in electric, rollable form."

        I don't know about you, but depending on how it's dithered, I can use my imagination to fill in the color... :)
      • by bhtooefr (649901)
        BTW, "4 types of gray" usually includes both black and white. It does on the old Game Boy or on older Palm PDAs, anyway.
  • In a word; (Score:2, Informative)

    Cool.

    Look like they might have come up with something to satisfy people like me. I love the idea of electronic books; but I'd miss being able to turn the page. Plus, if the electronic ink is as readable as they say, no worries about eyestrain.
  • Use (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:08AM (#8099655)
    This sounds like it's a bit small for the need to be rolled up. It happens to be the same resolution as the Pocket PC I'm coding for at my job, and it is rather small. I guess perhaps this could be merely a proof of concept to show they can do something like this, while they work on making something bigger.
  • Wallpaper (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArmenTanzarian (210418) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:08AM (#8099656) Homepage Journal
    With this on my walls and those window LCD's [slashdot.org] I can finally live my dream of never leaving my parents' basement!
  • by osullish (586626) <osullish@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:09AM (#8099666)
    "Whats that you have on you desk? This is an exam young man!"
    "Oh Just a sheet of paper and a calculator teacher"
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:09AM (#8099670) Journal
    At least if you've got the paper kind you don't have to worry about it crashing, breaking, running out of power, etc. And with the paper kind, you can easily mark way points, targets, etc in seconds - doing that with a software-based system won't be half as fast.

    I can't imagine a field commander taking along one of these without wanting a paper map as a backup. The last thing you want to do in a combat zone is be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    • by Docrates (148350) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:13AM (#8099711) Homepage
      how about real time placement of military resources, GIS info by clicking on a building, status and other info by clicking on troop, tanks, etc. (asuming they can pair this up with touch screen functionality which I'm guessing they can).
      • Potentially a good idea but if you can "see" where your troops are electronically and are in constant two-way electronic communication with them then wouldn't your enemy will be able to "see" where they are too? He might not be able to accurately determine force strengths but he the presence of that EM communication would be a dead giveaway that someone was there.
    • by fish_in_the_c (577259) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:17AM (#8099777)
      I actually at the moment work for the military in the mission planning field. Much of the mission planning that is already done is done on computers. Some plains ( bigger ones) carry laptops to be able to replay their mission in flight if needed. I'd think the advantage in something like this is as much in the fact that it will not shatter or crack when dropped/ stepped on ect. Not to mention it is lightweight.
      • by erwin (8773)
        The article did mention that the material has a 2cm bend radius, so it still might have a problem if it gets crushed.
      • by Torg (59213)
        As a military member who suffers from military planners I can assure you we would rather have paper maps.

        Without the map you are dead meat. With anything electronic I have to depend upon power, end of statment.

        Yes we use technology. Yes it helps us. But when it counts, I want my compass and a map (and that tactical overlay).
      • Everybody here seems to be missing the biggest advantage that these have for military uses - realtime display of deployments! Imagine a company lieutenant pulling one of these out of his pack and looking at it. It syncs via wifi to the HQ and he instantly can see where the nearest frienldly armoured unit is, the current target of his backup artillery, and where other units are and whether they are in a position to support him. If every unit carries a GPS unit that automagically radios their position back to
    • by FrostedWheat (172733) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:20AM (#8099815)
      "A computer with a bullet hole is a paper weight, but a map with a bullet hole is still a map."

      I read that on Slashdot ages ago, sorry don't remember who said it!
      • Both of which you have to take off some guy with a bullet hole in him, too.
      • That's a technical problem that can be solved, though. Something to think about.
      • That's a good point, but the idea is to keep the bullet holes from getting anywhere near the person altogether. The big advantage of these screens is that they can be updated with real time information (assuming that they are network connected). Say one unit reports a sniper in a general area, another unit coming from a different road, could "see" that the other unit is reporting fire in the area, and be a little more cautious.
      • by thogard (43403) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:27PM (#8105220) Homepage
        A computer with a bullet hole is a paper weight, but a map with a bullet hole is still a map.
        No a computer with a bullet in it that has been left behind is a potential assest for the other sides intelligence so its worse than a paperweight.
    • yes but these displays + a GPS unit can give a field commander a big fat "YOU ARE HERE"... and with additional intelligence that is gathered elsewhere, such a display can be instantly updated to say "THEY ARE THERE- DUCK!"
    • by etn991 (626061)
      I agree having a paper map is still very important as a backup. However, having a digital map would allow the soldier/field commander to be able to have several map resolutions easily and quickly available. Also update-able with current friendly positions to avoid friendly-fire kills.

      Actually, marking things on paper maps is a perfectly good way to give information to the enemy in the event of capture. So an electronic map with either biometric (fingerprint) scanning for access or an 'erase me I've been
      • Biometrics makes no sense. If you're captured, you're hands get captured too. But if your APC is hit by a HE round and you've sufferered burns to your hands then you're going to be pissed off that you can't see where you've been stranded because your map won't recognise your fingerprint.
    • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:39AM (#8099998)
      One of the major complaints of the troops in Iraq is battery life. Everything has batteries in it. Even the helmets have battery packs.

      GPS was a necessary tool in the dessert. The land is kinda flat and sand colored. All of it. There are no reference points and navigating on land becomes equivilent to navigating at sea. The "map" is a sand colored chart you can plot your points on, not so much a reference you can use to get from one place to another.

      They loved laptops, but only because they could power them from a vehicle. They were issued PDAs but found them fairly useless because the battery life was too short in the field.

      It's the new, high tech army, sponsored by Duracell and the Energizer Bunny.

      There are some obvious advantages to this display. Of course it's light, it uses little power, in some respects it can be used as a chart. You can mark it. It doesn't physically break anymore than a plastic placemat breaks. It's water proof. So long as it get data the single display can be any map the data source has access to so you don't need to be lugging around huge stacks of charts.

      But the biggest thing that negates some of the advantages this display has is that it is inherently static state. That is to say it only needs to be powered to change the display. Not only does that mean very little power drain in use, it means once an image is displayed it can be completely disconected from the power and any other device and the image remains.

      That's pretty frickin' cool.

      I'm already planning (I've already read about this thing) to use a screen like this for the electronic navigation system of a new boat. Take a GPS reading, or display a bit of chart, turn it off and the reading/chart remains. One brief flash of power than off again.

      On the other hand if you think I'm going bluewater without a chronometer and sextant you're nuts. I always expect electronic gear to fail about the second day out. I'm often right.

      KFG
      • so why don't they get some of those roll-up solar panels to go with their roll-up screens?

        nice thing about solar in the desert... tends to charge batteries rather well.
      • by kfg (145172)
        But the biggest thing that negates some of the disadvantages this display has is that it is inherently static state.

        I hate when I do that.

        KFG
      • by iamhassi (659463) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:08PM (#8101135) Journal
        "But the biggest thing that negates some of the advantages this display has is that it is inherently static state. That is to say it only needs to be powered to change the display. Not only does that mean very little power drain in use, it means once an image is displayed it can be completely disconected from the power and any other device and the image remains."

        Honestly I think that's the major feature. Rolling up a display is nice and all, but the fact that the display will remain without power is incredible.

        Imagine how long a PDA battery would last if you only used it a few seconds a day, but yet those few seconds allowed you to read for several hours? That's revolutionary.

        We complain that batteries aren't keeping up with technology, but finally there's a technology that will significantly increase battery life.

        I wonder if this could bring back electronic book readers [amazon.com]? They were rather heavy (1.5 lbs) mostly due to requiring a large number batteries to keep it powered for an extended period of time.

        And I'd love to have all my textbooks on one device, even if it cost $500+ that'd be cheap considering a single book is $100+ and you need one for every class.

        So keep the flexibility, I'd rather have a static display.

      • The battery situation is already dealt with...most of the eInk solutions don't require power to keep the display...just to change it. The advantage then would be the ability to hold A LOT of maps in your pocket and switch them without digging around pockets! After all, how many pages of greyscale maps could a simple 64MB SD card hold... Of course being able to pull up maps from GPS or military planner data wouldn't hurt either.

        Remember too that the eInk soulutions will reduce power requirements accros

    • Can A paper map be updated with the locations of all friendly and reported enemy units in your area in real time automatically?
      Can it update your position with everyone who needs to know in real time automatically?
      Can it be updated in real time to include new areas should the need arise?

      I absolutely agree that a paper map is still a requirement, you can't count on high tech gadgets to work flawlessly all the time,
      but the amount of information small, flexible, simple to use devices like this can put into th
      • - Can A paper map be updated with the locations of all friendly and reported enemy units in your area in real time automatically?-

        Yeah. It uses a device called a ballpoint pen.

    • I agree that the unit commander will want a print out, but the displays are useful.
      From what I saw in the demo, the display only needs power when it changes what is on the screen. So if it's without power, it'll still have the same map showing.

      On a side note, this is the first step to a Global (the cellphone device used in Earth: Final Conflict).
      • On a side note, this is the first step to a Global (the cellphone device used in Earth: Final Conflict).

        All we need is MCI to power the Global network... err... Maybe there is a better company out there to run the system? How about one not so bruised by its own indiscretions?

        At least, I think it was MCI on the show..

        • So long as the carrier is good, I don't really care who they are.
          If you remember, the airline company in 2001 that offered flights to space was PanAm. And they're bankrupt.
          I think there's some article somewhere about the 'curse' of having their product placed in the movie 2001. All of the companies folded except one. Which I think was IBM.
          • by lowmagnet (646428)

            Actually, the curse was on BladeRunner:

            Q: What is this "Blade Runner Curse"?

            A: Someone once noticed that a number of the companies whose logos appeared in BR had financial difficulties after the film was released. Atari had 70% of the home console market in 1982, but faced losses of over $2 million in the first quarter of 1991. Bell lost it's monopoly in 1982. Pan-Am filed for bankruptcy protection in 1991. Soon after Blade Runner was released, Coca-Cola released their "new formula", resulting in losses

    • by ranger5 (745804)
      "The last thing you want to do in a combat zone is be in the wrong place at the wrong time." True. Which begins the argument for the digital map. The modern battlefield is fluid, unlike the more organized "Cross this straight line here..." battlefields pre-Korea. With the advent of mechanized units moving at 20-40 mph average, Airborne and Air Assault troops that can drop virtually anywhere on the map, reliable maps are ever more vital. Because of the speed at which the lines can change and flow, the milit
  • by 10101001011 (744876) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:10AM (#8099682) Homepage
    That is all I need, being able to check the latest newspaper only to find SPAM and ads. I've seen it happen to the Internet in general, to AVantGo, even to MobiPocket (thankfully not as much). I do truly hope this works out as it seems like it would be pretty cool. I'm thinking those REWARD FOR LOST DOG posters could be VERY interesting ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    from the article: ...
    Further, "the life of our organic electronics displays has been already prolonged from "hours to months," he added.
  • Now I don't have to keep a newpaper around anymore to smack flies!

  • Great for newspapers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by addie (470476) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:14AM (#8099733)
    Imagine having one of these displays with a little USB hookup, a couple of page turning buttons, and nothing else. If the price drops enough, newspapers could sell them to customers along with a subscription service that allows them to download the morning's paper before they head off to work. No more recycling, no more ink-stained fingers...

    I realize this is already sort of possible with laptops/pda's, etc.. but there's something comforting about a convenient rolled up paper on the bus ride in. Plus it can be used to swat pesky mosquitos!
    • Better yet...

      Imagine one (a bit larger, a bit higher-res) that plugs into your mobile phone.

      You subscribe to a service that gives you headlines, stock quotes, whatever. You use your phone to pick what you want, plug in the display, transfer the image, and bingo, you've got a page of potentially useful information you can read now or later, without tying up your phone.

      Maybe the display has an itsybitsy memory thingy and paging buttons so you can store more than one page at a time, as you suggested. Or m
  • portability (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theMerovingian (722983) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:15AM (#8099745) Journal

    This is pretty cool, but the picture that shows up on the display has to be generated from some data source or CPU-carrying device. If you plug in your rollable display to a laptop/PDA, it isn't nearly as cool.

    Alternatively, the screen could just store one image permanently. In which case it would be just expensive, unreliable paper.

    That being said, I am all for the technology. When they can make a transparent sticker that can be turned on as a TV/monitor, I would buy one. Forget flatscreen, your TV would just be a sheet of glass on a stand. That would be cool.

    • How about a bumper sticker you can change when you go home for the holidays, go to work, or have a cop trailing you for a possible speeding ticket. The "Evolve" stick ons are cool but just not practical for every situation.
  • Wallpaper (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tarwn (458323)
    I could swear I saw an article on a similar product recently, but the company was working on both rollable displays and paint on screens to use as customizeable wall paper (hmm...I'm in a mauve flower mood today...). trying to find the link but it was a few weeks ago and it was one of those middle-of-the-night, can't-sleep, random walks through the internet.
    • Re:Wallpaper (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tarwn (458323)
      Ah ha found the company, if not the article:
      http://www.prisma-techniek.nl/latestnews _lcd.htm

      Of course I would feel better about the company if they didn't have the MS sample picture as part of the front of their website...
  • by k3v0 (592611) <k3v0&k3v0,net> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:17AM (#8099768) Homepage Journal
    This is good news for paper reduction. I suppose it is also good news for squirrels and other tree loving animals...
    • This is good news for paper reduction. I suppose it is also good news for squirrels and other tree loving animals...

      Lots of woodland is only there because the trees can be sold. If you reduce a big market for wood (paper), you will redue the amount of woodland.

      Mind you, much of the managed woodland is green desert anyway.

      Also, if you grow trees, chop them down, make paper, and put the paper in landfills where it doesn't rot very well, you are taking CO2 out of the atmosphere... (of course, if you burn

  • Lifetime: months? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:17AM (#8099771) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    Further, "the life of our organic electronics displays has been already prolonged from ?hours to months," [Bas van Rens, general manager at Polymer Vision] added.

    I'm trying to figure this one out... is he saying that this cool roll-up display, with four shades of grey and readable as paper, will self destruct after a few months?

    And they're so hard to produce, that he can only make 5000 a year? Just to have ten engineers running the line at $100k/yr (or one executive at $1m/yr) would make each one cost $500 bucks.

    No wonder he's targeting the military. Nobody else can afford to spend $500-$1000 on displays that don't last much longer than a gallon of milk in a wet paper sack. But I can envision plenty of 100% valid military applications -- after all, if you're going to blow up a million-dollar cruise missile, why not give it a thousand-dollar configuration panel?

    Ideally, of course, the military money helps get the screen into the production levels required for the consumer market. Extend the lifespan to six months and drop the cost to under $60 bucks, and people will pay $10/month for disposable e-books.
    • > Extend the lifespan to six months and drop the cost to under $60 bucks, and people will pay $10/month for disposable e-books.

      More's the pity. I suppose Joe and Jenny Idiot have to have their gadgets, but such horrendously disposable items will lead to a lot of unpleasant waste. That might be fair enough for low-volume (eg military) applications but I'd hope the general public would hold out for something a bit less environmentally unpleasant.
      • I'd hope the general public would hold out for something a bit less environmentally unpleasant.

        The general public doesnt hold out, the general public is fed whatever crap the marketing guys and gals can push down our throats. Just wait until those disposable DVDs (as mentioned on slashdot) that only play 2-3 times hit the market.

        Dont even get me started on AOL discs.

        But lets not forget the biodegradable cd-rs made from corn. Yummy.
        • Just wait until those disposable DVDs (as mentioned on slashdot) that only play 2-3 times hit the market

          EZ-D [go.com]'s are already on the market. They're made with a material that reacts with the oxygen in the air to render them unplayable after 48 hours. I agree that it's rather wasteful, but they do have a recycling program that even has the incentive of a free disc when you send in 6 expired ones. Still wasteful, and it should come with a prepaid envelope to the recycler. I think it's just a matter of time be
          • EZ-D's are already on the market.

            Intersesting concept, and just a road trip to Austin away. And there's the "buy 6 get one free" deal, which seems pretty cool. But check out this fine print [go.com]:

            * Request a postage prepaid mailer to be sent to them through the recycling link on the website. Upon receipt of the mailer, simply place up to

            5 expired EZ-D discs in the envelope and send in any regular mailbox.

            * Participate in our upcoming incentive program. Start saving your discs now and upon sending in six exp

      • Re:Lifetime: months? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RobertB-DC (622190) *
        More's the pity. I suppose Joe and Jenny Idiot have to have their gadgets, but such horrendously disposable items will lead to a lot of unpleasant waste.

        I agree with you. I'm sure when they talk about "organics-based displays", they're not talking about the good kind [organicgardening.com] of "organic". The term "organic chemistry [wikipedia.org]" simply means that it's based on carbon instead of silicon. Unfortunately, the carbon compounds will be heavily doped with the same sort of toxic metals and other compounds that cause problems when
    • I don't think it's so much a matter of "it's so hard" as it is that everything they've done so far is research, and now they have to shift gears to producing them economically. Every new piece of technology goes through that curve, you just don't usually hear about it (except on Slashdot).

      You're right about the amortization of labor. They'll have to produce a lot more for it to be truly economical.
    • RTFA.

      They say they are producing only 5000 a year because the tech is not ready and these 5000 are for some companies to make prototypes. We are not talking about large scale production here.
    • Is months the shelf life, or the total operating time? Two months times 24 is 4 years, that means you could look at your PDA for an hour every day (i.e. 1/24th of your life) and it would last 4 years, which is ample.
  • by aardwolf204 (630780) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:17AM (#8099772)
    Imagine a beowulf cluster of these...

    5" 320x240

    10" 640x480

    20" 1280x1024

    5120" 327680x245760 - Almost enough for that 16 megapixel 360' panaramic shot I'm not working on.

  • by 10101001011 (744876) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:19AM (#8099799) Homepage
    I was just thinking of something (I know, scary isn't it). These things will probably be priced reasonably in a short period of time and as Phillips likely hopes will one day replace a good chunck of print media.

    What about disposal? It is likely that if they are priced reasonably enough they may become just as disposable as newspaper (all right, not quite so bad) but even if only one in ten people disposed of these things after they became damaged (look how we treat our newspapers and tell me these things won't be piling up in the dump) how are we supposed to get rid of them? They likely contain a fair amount of material that is not decomposable within a reasonable amount of time. We already know that computers are adding quite a bulge to the normal waste, how would seveal million sheets of this stuff hold up (quite well I'm guessing, probably 100,000 - 500,000 years!)

    This is of course only my perspective but it does give reason to pause.
    • If the companies that make these things really want to win in the public relations field, and they're concerned about the issue you've raised, they could implement some sort of deposit system. You pay a deposit on top of the price of the display that will only be refunded if at the end of its useful life, you return it to the company and get that amount back. Phillips (in this case) could then re-use the components that are salvagable and thus cut down on the amount of waste.

      I know I'm dreaming here, but
    • by Jerf (17166) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @11:25AM (#8100583) Journal
      As cheap as paper is, as cheap as this "digital paper" could even hope to be, it's nothing compared to how cheap streaming bytes are.

      Even if buying a newspaper-thick sheaf of this stuff becomes as cheap as newspaper is now, I assure you the economy would rapidly adapt to re-use paper as often as possible.

      Babble about the disposability is more to emphasize how cheap they want to make this, then a true "commitment" to disposing of these things. Economically, we're all going to want to buy as little of this stuff as possible. "Disposing" of this is a pipe dream on the order of flying cars and jetpacks; technically feasible, grossly uneconomical.

      That's not to say that this may not have some impact... but you need not worry about a 1-to-1 replacement of normal paper to digital paper in the landfills. It is quite likely that after a couple of iterations, with "paper" that works for years, that it would cut enough into paper waste to make it an environmental gain.
  • PDA Wrist Gauntlet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:23AM (#8099842)
    This display tech would make a great wrist-wrapping PDA gauntlet. Rather than have to hand-hold the PDA/cellphone/MP3/video player beastie, an arm-conforming design would enable handsfree display. The only decision is whether to wear the display on the top of the forearm (risking damage to the display) or wearing it on the inside of the forearm (which seems a little less comfortable).
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:25AM (#8099859) Homepage Journal
    A 2cm bend radius means that rolled up, this display will form a tube 4cm wide. This is NOT "roll-up into a pen", this is more "roll up into a scrollcase".

    To put in another way: this is a 5 inch diagonal display - say 3x4 inches - that rolls up into a 2 inch wide tube. <sarcasm>Yes, that is a HUGE improvement.</sarcasm>

    WHEN they get this to have a 1mm bending radius I'll get really excited. Until then this isn't all that great, although I suppose a 2 inch diameter by 3 inch long tube diameter tube full of battery and electronics, with a pull-out display might be somewhat useful.
  • by InfoVore (98438) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:25AM (#8099861) Homepage
    I've wanted to build a custom portable computer into a staff/walking stick for a while. This would be perfect for the display. A 2 inch curve is about right to wrap around the top of a staff, particularly if it is widened to about a 5 inch circumference at the top.
  • Oh great... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Steamhead (714353)
    The next version of "AdIN" advertising....

    For those who don't know, those ads in the bathrooms at your local universities...
  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:30AM (#8099897) Homepage Journal
    I don't why, but I kind of imagine the phone [jjambproductions.com] from Earth Final Conflict in my head when I read this. Take a little G3 technology, built in cameras and these roll up screens and I think we have everything we need to build a working version.
  • Display specs.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ratface (21117) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:31AM (#8099912) Homepage Journal
    Interesting to note what's current and what's in production...

    Dimensions: display + pixels + aperture
    Display size: 71 mm x 96 mm (diameter 119 mm).
    Number of pixels: 240 x 320.
    Optical aperture: 79%.
    Driving: refresh rate, voltages, power consumption, volume electronics
    Optimum refresh rate: 50 Hz.
    Operating voltages: column voltage range: -15V, +15V; row voltage range: -25V, +25V; common electrode voltage range: 0, +5 V.

    Power consumption: maximum power consumption of the display: 52 mW. Typical power consumption (10% duty cycle) of the display: 1 mW.
    Contrast, reflectance, switching time, bi-stable, grey levels, colour
    Contrast: 9:1.
    White reflectance: 25%
    Switching time: 800 ms.
    Bi-stable
    Number of grey levels: current: 2; in product: 4.
    Colour: current 1; in future product: 1
    Flexibility, thickness
    Display thickness: current: 350 m; product: 100 m.
    Display flexibility: current bending radius: 20 mm;
    future product bending radius: 10 mm.
    Stick facts: (user interface, bluetooth)
    Component area of the addressing electronics: 48 cm2.
    Height of the addressing electronics: 2 mm.
    Typical size of a 0.5 Wh rechargeable Li-ion battery (10% duty cycle, 1 hour use per day): 1,3 cm3.
    Battery life under the same conditions: approximately 1 month.
    Bluetooth interface
  • Version 1.0.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JollyFinn (267972) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:37AM (#8099976)
    Firstly they are making it enough volumes to attract others to build applications that need it, but not enough to generate any real money...But have plans for mass manufacturing plant with 12 to 24 month period from now, but they are seeking funding to build it, which means they have to show SOMETHING, with future potential. They are doing active research, meanwhile which means that they can make it bigger, last longer ,cheaper, and have better resolution, they just don't know yet which of those are going to improve and how much in the period before mass production. The first generation product is probably usably mainly as prototype design and perhaps some rare cases, where cost is not such a problem...
  • military uses (maps anyone?)

    Am I not the only person that immediately thought of the Marauder's Map [about.com]?
    • Am I not the only person that immediately thought of the Marauder's Map?

      Kind of adds new meaning to that famous quote:

      "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
      - Arthur C. clarke
  • by Beautyon (214567) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @10:44AM (#8100051) Homepage
    Fujitsu have come out [irdial.com] with a similar looking flexible display product.

    It looks like we are going to get very light, very energy efficient displays, rsn. These might not be used in a flat form, but would be very useful in making hard cased laptops even lighter...or clipboard devices...its just amazing.
  • Three other sources on this topic - worth looking at - UDC has a video of an early working green monochrome display: Universal Display Corporation (NJ) www.universaldisplay.com Cambridge Display Technology (UK) www.cdtltd.co.uk Society for Information Display www.sid.org
  • Scientific American (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @11:00AM (#8100254)
    SciAm has a good primer [sciam.com] about the tech of these displays on their website.

    They also have an artist's impression of these screens, stating that "Future looks flexible".

    Apparently the future is finally here.

  • by Baron_Yam (643147) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @11:01AM (#8100258)

    If you could get these things up to a lifespan of a decade, and get them in colour, you could panel a car with them.

    You could also get by with pixels that are huge - say, 1 cm diameter, and still get some neat effects, like zebra stripes that move along the car in proportion to your speed.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's actually an article in the february Scientific American about organic displays, though it talks more about organic leds and not really electronic ink. Still, a pretty interesting read, which has been kindly been placed online at the Sci Am website here [sciam.com]
  • pics.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by deego (587575) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @11:07AM (#8100344)
    pic [reuters.com]

    Article [reuters.co.uk]
  • Mil Maps (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HermanZA (633358)
    Cool, now you can fly over the battle field and reprogram the enemy's maps...
  • Let us think about this:

    240x320 in a 5" diagonal display.
    Bending radius 2 cm (aka almost an inch)

    If they can tighten up the bend radious slighly, and create a 800x600 display at 100 dpi (so it's a 6" display from top to bottom), we will have only one more step to create those GlobalComms from Earth: Final Conflict -- the hardware.

    I hope it runs Linux!!!!
  • ...will eventually be targeted towards applications such as military uses...Actually, when the wonks that own this technology max out on the Military contracts, expect to see it at Best Buy for a whole lot cheaper.
  • My map is broke (Score:2, Insightful)

    by heyitsme (472683)
    The display, currently measuring 5" diagonal and capable of displaying QVGA at 320x240, will eventually be targeted towards applications such as military uses (maps anyone?)

    A paper map with a bullet hole in it is still a map. You cannot say the same about an electronic device
  • invisibility cloak! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quickening (15069) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @12:10PM (#8101172) Homepage
    make a total body suit out of these, and project a rear image forward... ok so it would only work in grey light conditions now, but we're getting there.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @01:05PM (#8101872) Homepage Journal
    Might it be possible to include electroplastics in the display substrate? Those materials are manufactured in one shape, returning to it after a mechanical deformation (eg. manual pulling). Additionally, a small applied charge deforms them into another "baked-in" shape; more advanced versions have manifold states, addressable by charge. How about a display that's prerolled into a scroll, then rolled again like a string into a disc, in its uncharged form? A 1" disc might snap into a 15" display on powerup, giving new meaning to "quarter VGA".

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