Televisions, monitors, and any type of mobile device with a screen – all of them are about to change, and it’s all thanks to OLED technology. LED and LCD televisions both rely on the presence of a backlight to make their images bright enough to enjoy. OLED does not. All OLED needs is a surface. Picture a TV screen that can be literally printed onto paper, cloth, or plastic. Now you’re truly beginning to understand how this technology is going to revolutionize everything.
OLED. Organic Light Emitting Diode. Molecules, dancing around and making enough luminescence to be easily visible to the human eye. It doesn’t take much power to make them do their thing, either. You could attach screens to cereal boxes or curtains, bed sheets or clothing. OLEDs will even change fashion, given enough time. Imagine an outfit that can instantly assume any color. That outfit will be powered by OLED technology.
It’ll take time to see all these changes come around. At first, this tech may be expensive – the newest and best usually is. Today’s battery technology will have to catch up, but it doesn’t really have far to go. Taking their cues from the traditional Lithium Ion cell, researchers at Rice University have recently found a way to pack an entire battery into five razor-thin coats of specially developed paint. Combine that kind of ingenuity with an OLED display, and you can really start to imagine its true potential.
The real question we should anticipate is how OLED technology will alter the way we enjoy media. Look far enough into the future, and you’ll see a room where every wall is a television. Look far enough into the past, and you’ll discover that sci-fi great Ray Bradbury predicted this kind of tech all the way back in 1953. In his brilliant novel Fahrenheit 451, he speaks of “parlor walls” that blur the line between a TV and, well, a wall.
Envision a room which does not consist of four walls. Instead, it is a giant oval surface – an OLED monitor. You’re standing in the centre of this room. On the large screen which wraps around you, there is a movie playing. Thanks to the active display 3D contact lenses you’re wearing (also powered by OLED technology), the media you’re enjoying creates an entirely convincing illusion of depth… one that completely fills your peripheral vision. It’s staggeringly real.
So what is it that you’re watching? Maybe it’s an interactive, instructional seminar… a Sensei, teaching you karate in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Maybe motion sensors – the same ones that are in a Nintendo Wii controller, or the Xbox 360 Kinect – are tracking your movements, as you battle online challengers in an effort to achieve your next belt. It could be yoga or dance moves you’re learning, or agility training, or Tai Chi. Whatever it is, you’ll be able to think back to 2012 and remember when OLED began to be mass produced – and how that gradually, incredibly, led us to a future where true interactivity was possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about the technical specifications of OLED, check out the great article that Future Shop’s computing solutions editor Rajio wrote – you can read it here.
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