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Category:
Science and Technology
Domain:
Keywords:
Work & organisation - displays, mobility, contextual displays, ambient displays, OLEDs, OLEPs, smart walls, floating augmented reality
Outlook:
Developments in display technology may increase the repertoire of interactions between users and digital media by increasing the number of sites for ‘ambient’ displays.
Summary Analysis:
Today, interaction with digital displays is a deskbound or device-dependent experience. However, developments in display technology may enable a new form of interaction with digital media: ‘ubiquitous computing’. In ubiquitous computing, the physical location of data and processing power is not apparent to the user. Rather, information is made available to the user in a transparent and contextually relevant manner. A single display device restricts the repertoire of interactions between the user and digital media, so ubiquitous computing requires displays wherever the user might need one – in appliances, tabletops public transport, walls, etc. ‘Ambient’ displays communicate on the periphery of human perception, requiring minimal attention and cognitive load.

Sites for ambient display technologies include:

  • Tabletop workspaces – horizontal flat displays that support multiple users moving around a common work surface
  • Smart walls – large-format screens that seamlessly display users' personal work environments over broadband wireless connections
  • Chairtop work surfaces / control pads – seating with embedded digital controls for interacting with ambient displays
  • Web signs – digital signs that are actually flexibly programmable Web displays for specific purposes
  • Public display boards – displays similar to Web signs that serve a more general function as displays for news and mobile workers’ transitory interactions as they pass by
  • Floating augmented reality – personal information artefacts eventually viewable through lightweight head-mounted displays or perhaps in the far future through direct neural connections
  • Paper-thin digital displays, e-paper, and textile displays enabled by OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) and OLEPs (organic light-emitting polymers)

In developed countries, ambient displays may appear within 5 years in high-end speciality applications. Within 10 to 20 years they may find broader worldwide consumer applications as economies of scale drive manufacturing costs down.

Implications:

  • Enhanced personal productivity and greater efficiency at work
  • Closer integration of team efforts
  • More collaborative use of existing work, living, and public spaces

Early Indicators:

  • Universal Display Corporation's licencing of their OLED flexible display technology to Samsung
  • Mitsubishi Labs' prototyping of a wide range of novel ambient displays
  • Devotion of an entire issue (March 2005) of the Journal of the Communications of the ACM to applications and technologies of 'the disappearing computer'
  • The Fraunhofer Institute's research on 'roomware®' ('computer-augmented room elements like doors, walls, furniture with integrated information and communication technology')
  • UC Berkeley's formation of the Ambient Display Research Group to explore human factors of ambient displays
  • Shipment of about 31 million OLED panels in 2004, double the number shipped in 2003, according to the market research firm DisplaySearch

What to Watch:

  • New display technologies and new applications are demonstrated at annual conferences such as SIGCHI (the conference of the ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) and SIGGRAPH, the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.
  • OLED display shipments double and triple as OLEDs take even more market share for MP3 players and as main displays in mobile phones.

Parallels/Precedents:

  • Development and dissemination of LCD technology

Enablers/Drivers:

  • Decrease in OLED manufacturing costs
  • Introduction of new flat screen form factors
  • Adoption by consumers of new applications

Leaders:
Institutions:

  • Universal Display Corporation (development of an OLED flexible display technology, licenced to Samsung) [link]
  • Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (prototyping of a wide range of novel ambient displays) [link]
  • Fraunhofer Institute (roomware® research) [link]
  • Ambient Display Research Group, UC Berkeley (exploration of human factors of ambient displays) [link]
  • Cambridge Display Technology [link]
  • LG [link]
  • University of Lancaster [link]
  • Intel, Cambridge Lab (UK) [link]
  • Brunel University [link]
  • University of Glasgow [link]
  • Information and Communications University, Korea [link]

Figures:

Sources:

  • "OLED Marketplace." Universal Display Corporation. [link]
  • "Off the Desktop Interaction and Display." Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories. [link]
  • Journal of the Communications of the ACM. March 2005. [link]
  • "Ambient Displays: Turning Architectural Space into an Interface." MIT. [link]
  • Kallender, Paul, and Dan Nystedt. "Future looking bright for OLED displays." ComputerWorld Singapore 22 April 2005. [link]
  • "TVs Seen 5 Years Away From Market as LCDs, Plasma Dominate." Consumer Electronics Daily 25 May 2005.
  • Mark Weisner, 1993 The world is not a desktop [link]
  • Wikipedia page on ubiquitous computing [link]
  • Guy Kewney, LG "will persist" with Smart Display even after Microsoft drops it, The Register 8 January 2004, [link]
  • Paul Anderson, Advanced Display Technologies, JISC [link]
  • Han Cao et al, Enhancing Privacy in Public Spaces through Crossmodal Displays [link]
  • Gerd Kortuem and Christian Kray, HCI Issues of Dispersed Public Displays [link]


At A Glance:
When:
11–20 years
Where:
Global
How Fast:
Years
Likelihood:
Medium-High
Impact:
Medium-Low
Controversy:
Low


Related Outlooks:

About this outlook: An outlook is an internally consistent, plausible view of the future based on the best expertise available. It is not a prediction of the future. The AT-A-GLANCE ratings suggest the scope, scale, and uncertainty associated with this outlook. Each outlook is also a working document, with contributors adding comments and edits to improve the forecast over time. Please see the revision history for earlier versions.



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