When Do I Get My Cheap, Flexible Touchscreen?
In his 1995 novel The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson whetted our interest with his description of mediatrons, cheap touchscreen devices that were thin and flexible, like paper:
Bud took a seat and skimmed a mediatron from the coffee table; it looked exactly like a dirty, wrinkled, blank sheet of paper. "'Annals of Self-Protection,'" he said, loud enough for everyone else in the place to hear him. The logo of his favorite meedfeed coalesced on the page. Mediaglyphics, mostly the cool animated ones, arranged themselves in a grid. Bud scanned through them until he found the one that denoted a comparison of a bunch of different stuff, and snapped at it with his fingernail. New mediaglyphics appeared, surrounding larger pictures in which Annals staff tested several models of skull guns against live and dead targets.
So, when do I get one?
Electronic devices with touchscreens are ubiquitous, and one key piece of technology makes them possible: transparent conductors. However, the cost and the physical limitations of the material these conductors are usually made of are hampering progress toward flexible touchscreen devices.
Fortunately, a research collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University has shown a new a way to design transparent conductors using metal nanowires that could enable less expensive — and flexible — touchscreens.
The research was conducted by graduate student Rose Mutiso, undergraduate Michelle Sherrott and professor Karen Winey, all of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. They collaborated with graduate student Aaron Rathmell, and professor Benjamin Wiley of Duke’s Department of Chemistry.
The Penn team’s simulation provides further evidence for each variable’s role in the overall network’s performance, helping the researchers home in on the right balance of traits for specific applications. Increasing the coverage area of nanowires, for example, always decreases the overall electrical resistance, but it also decreases optical transparency; as more and more nanowires are piled on the networks appear gray, rather than transparent.
“For specific applications and different types of nanowires, the optimal area fraction is going to be different,” Winey said. “This simulation shows us how many nanowires we need to apply to reach the Goldilocks zone where you get the best mix of transparency and resistance.”
Obviously, it's still a long way to effective commercialization of this idea - but my mediatrons are getting closer!
Via Kurzweil AI; see also Penn release.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/12/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Bosch Smartglasses Laser Paints AR Image On Your Retina
'Soon we'll be testing a system that projects directly on the retina of the eye.' - Pohl and Kornbluth, 1952.
A New Way To Run Into Things
'He made an adjustment, pointed the tube at the wall beside Etzwane, and projected a cone of light.' - Jack Vance, 1971.
Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.' - William Gibson, 1986.
North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.' - Charles Stross, 2007.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Rippling Fin Robot Drone Swims And Walks
'... the curious parallelism to animal motions, which was so striking and disturbing to the human beholder...'
Space Weather News!
'On the three-dimensional map at weather headquarters on the planet Kaider III, the storm was colored orange'
Liftware Level, Google's Smart Spoon
'The result was indeed marvelous... I did not stagger and I did not reel.'
Cute Teddy Bear Robot Favorite Of Hospitalized Children
'...thought had been given to its programming.'
Google Now Expects Chips To Design Themselves
'What lay down there? Energy, tubes and pipes, wiring, transformers, self-contained machinery...'
PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun'
3D Printed Glass Uses Stereolithography Techniques
'All that with glass...'
Science Fiction Helps Young Readers Build Resiliency
'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'
I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'
Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'
Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'
Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'
MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories