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INFO TECHNOLOGY

LCD displays... and what next?

Everybody who takes any interest in computing technology understands that the long and fruitful era of classical CRT monitors is slowly coming to its inevitable end.
Today we can see a growing number of so-called LCD monitors with various sizes in a growing number of companies and workplaces. Not many of us have contemplated whether LCD technology is going to dominate the market for as long as its CRT predecessors, but even now there is a newer technology on the scene - polymer displays.
These new "display areas" are no longer classical screens. Imagine your text editor lying directly on the table, where you can work with it interactively, or a display mounted on the wall, with supreme parameters but only a few millimetres thick.


Peter Krošlák

Everybody who takes any interest in computing technology understands that the long and fruitful era of classical CRT monitors is slowly coming to its inevitable end.

Today we can see a growing number of so-called LCD monitors with various sizes in a growing number of companies and workplaces. Not many of us have contemplated whether LCD technology is going to dominate the market for as long as its CRT predecessors, but even now there is a newer technology on the scene - polymer displays.

These new "display areas" are no longer classical screens. Imagine your text editor lying directly on the table, where you can work with it interactively, or a display mounted on the wall, with supreme parameters but only a few millimetres thick.

This "monitor" can be rolled into a tube after work to serve as a wide TV screen at home. In a car the same technology serves as one big dashboard displaying all the required information, but can also be immediately transformed into a navigation system or, in a traffic jam, into a screen for your e-mail messages. It might sound like fantasy, but this technology exists and has a name.

It is based on so-called Light Emitting Polymers (LEP). Developers are fascinated by the flexibility of such material. Thin polymer layers are very flexible and can be bent or rolled. They no longer have to be square or rectangular, so they can obtain various flat as well as 3D shapes. Their possible use covers a wide area from watch displays through screens up to display walls. Polymers can be mounted directly to the device or spread on various surfaces.

With a little bit of imagination there can be watches, mobile phones, apartment walls or even blotters used for displaying. Folding notebooks, rolled-up TV and computer screens, wallpapers or Venetian blinds with display capabilities - anything can be produced.

But this is looking to the future. At the moment the first example of LEP in real-life can be seen in watches with polymer displays. Phillips already started producing polymer displays last April. In comparison with the above-mentioned glimpses into the future they are quite modest. Their shape is still rectangular; they are monochromatic and used for mobile phones. Nevertheless, we can see that these displays are much better in colour, clarity and luminosity than classical LCDs.

Polymer displays are still monochromatic, but they can be made in any colour. Integrating various colours in one carrier will be the next step.


Peter Krošlák is responsible for Hardware Solutions at PosAm Bratislava. His column appears monthly. Send comments or questions to kroslak@posam.sk.

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