We moved from Cathode Ray Tube display, those huge boxes that have are now a curiosity of the past, to Flat Panel Displays, starting with Plasma and LCD technologies. All of a sudden it has become possible to have larger screens in our living space since the television could be placed against a wall without encumbering the space.
The price spiralled down, so that large screens have become affordable and we have started to have several televisions in our home. More than that. We started to have several screens that can serve as television: our computers, our cell phones, the car navigator, sometimes even the fridge!
Watching television has become a potentially ubiquitous experience.
More recentlywe have seen the growing use of e-paper (not good to watch video for its long latency) and in the coming decade paper like screen, based on AMOLED technology, will support video further increasing the possibility to watch television, making any surface a potential screen. NED deposition along with transparent electronics and transparent wiring will make glass screen possible, opening up new possibility, particularly in the area of Augmented Immersive Reality (see clip).
The 4th wave, the one of 3D vision started at the turn of the century but did not win the market. The reason lies in the physiology of our vision system. It is ok, although not for everybody, to watch a 3D movie in a theater, but the same movie watched in a living room creates, to most, a dizzy sensation. The reason is that at the theater the ambient is dark and you just see the movie. Your eyes adjust to the “depth” and everything is fine (it is not completely natural though because the depth provided in 3D movies is not completely “natural” and some people are more sensitive than others to this skewed reality leading to a sense of nausea). At home, on the contrary, you are watching the 3D screen but you are also seeing the wall and objects at its sides. This forces the eyes, as they scan the visual area -saccades movements-, to a continue refocussing that generate after a few minutes a dizzy sensation.
In the next decade, with larger screens that provide full immersion 3D videos are likely to come back. At that point we won’t be feeling any dizzyness, nor nausea, since it will be like an everyday experience.
With extremely thin and flexible “plastic” screens it becomes possible to wrap many surfaces, transforming them in screens. The limitation, today, is the cost. Once OLED and AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens reach the price point of paper we will see a radical transformation of our ambient. It is still 2 decades away, probably, but in the years to come we will start to see a growing penetration of screens on objects and ambient.
Think about substituting todays boxes and labels used in product packaging with screens. As you walk through a supermarket the “walls” of products morph into screens providing you with an immersive experience.
Sony developed huge screens to be used in open areas, like stadium and even as gigantic signs for shops and malls. They are now evolving into the display of 3D images and clips, using trixels (pixels in 3 dimensions). There are becoming a common sight in Japan and expanding in the US.
The ubiquitous presence of visualization mechanisms in our ambient changes it significantly, as it is shown in the clip (all what is shown is already possibile today, although it is not feasible for its high cost).