New forms of screens may change our ambient

The roll up OLED screen showcased at CES 2016. Credit: LG

The television started, for many family, as a kitchen appliance. At least that was the case in Italy. 
Slowly it moved to the living room as more and more families lived in larger apartments and made the living room the evening "gathering" point.

All of a sudden the lay out of furniture was depending on the television screen. We placed the couch in a place that was appropriate given the location of the television (that had to take into account light from the windows, the distance from the couch, a free line of sight....).

The advent of flat panels gained half a meter and the coming of high definition screens allowed a shortening of the distance between the screen and the couch. At the same time the bigger screens had to find space in the living room and again it changed the placement of the furniture.

Over the last years the development of OLED technology and plastic electronics has open the way to the creation of screens that are as thick as a sheet of paper and bendable.

At CES 2016 LG showcased a functioning OLED screen, see clip, with 1200x810 pixels. This is sub-HD definition but LG is convinced they can manufacture 4k resolution with a 55 or 65 inches screen in the coming years.

The technology used delivers bendable screen (with the limitation that you cannot have a perfectly flat panel, it has to have a curved surface) and very very thin.  Other technologies, still based on OLED, can deliver transparent screens. 

A different manufacturing process can create screens that can be seen from both sides, each one providing an independent image, video, in a very very thin layer.

Architects will have available completely new television sets and will be able to reinvent the living room space.

Not just the living room! Curved, thin screens, will cover may surfaces, furniture will be able to display images and our homes may change their appearance, creating a fitting context for our mood.

It doesn't stop to the home. Our cars will sport screens, the dashboard, as well as the windshield, may become places to display information.

What about supermarkets? Imagine if products packaging embeds screens. You might see advertisement created by the composition of images displayed on individual packages, be they boxes, cans, labels on bottles.

Our perception of the ambient may change significantly in the coming decades, to a point that looking back at the time we are living now would seem like a step back into ancient times....

Our high impact initiative on Smart Street Retail is not yet addressing the impact of these new technologies since its horizon is within this decade but it is building a few stepping stones that can pave the way to the display revolution.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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