Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hmmm, could a flexible, electronic display screen someday replace a multi-page, bound set of A/E plans?

So, when will we see rolls of plan sets (i.e., sets of A/E drawings printed on paper) REPLACED by flexible, electronic display screens? R&D people have been working on this technology for many years. E-INK is the electronic ink technology behind this, and that's the same E-INK that powers Amazon's Kindle device.

Someday in the future (and who knows when that might be; probably be well after I'm gone from the scene)..... a GC Project Manager might go out into the field with one large, rolled-up sheet of thin plastic. When he gets to the job-site, he unrolls the sheet of thin plastic, uses a USB connection to connect the sheet to his laptop, goes on-line to the Internet, downloads a current set of A/E drawings for the project to his laptop, then begins to scroll through the pages in his "electronic set" of drawings (clicks to go from sheet to sheet in the set). Continuing on, walks the project with his superintendent and with trade subs, uses a stylus to write comments and to draw circles around problems he found with the drawings; hits his save button, then "sends" the full set of now-marked-up drawings to the Owner, his boss, and the entire A/E team. Perhaps we will see a gigantic 36" x 48" Amazon Kindle some day - but I kind of doubt it. Might be easier to produce a very thin plastic, electronic 36 x 48 sheet (a "flexible" display screen.)

Latest info I found on the Internet about developments going on with "flexible display screen" technology - - -

from 02/24/2009

Bendable Display Screens

TEMPE, Ariz., Feb. 24, 2009 – Screens typically used on mobile phones, laptops and televisions have consistently become sharper and thinner and are changing the way we send and receive information. Now, a breakthrough in flexible display technology has demonstrated a screen that is as thin as a piece of paper and that can bend like one, too. By using flexible components, a team at Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center (FDC) has announced the world’s first “touchscreen” active matrix display on a flexible, glass-free substrate.

Achieved through a collaborative effort between the center and its partners, E Ink Corp. and DuPont Teijin Films, it is the first demonstration of a flexible electronic display that enables real-time user input.

The breakthrough comes as a result of combining FDC’s low-temperature thin-film transistor technology, DuPont Teijin Films’ high-performance Teonex polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) films and E Ink’s Vizplex-ink laminate to form active matrix electrophoretic (electronic paper) displays. The touchscreen capability is enabled by integrating a low-power display controller that was developed by E Ink and Epson and demonstrated as part of E Ink’s developer’s kit.
The flexible touchscreen display supports real-time user input either by stylus pen or by touch, and it consumes power only when the electronic paper is activated. Once sketched on the display, information can be stored or sent wirelessly before erasing.

“Pen and touch input has become the preferred user interface in many portable electronic devices,” said Michael McCreary, vice president of research and advanced development at E Ink. “The ability to incorporate the flexible touch feature into the E Ink Vizplex display will enable a host of new applications that require shatterproof displays.”

“We believe successful deployment of flexible touchscreen technology can stimulate a number of applications that will allow Army soldiers, and ultimately other users, to input, store or transmit real-time data from remote locations using ultralow-power displays that are rugged, sunlight-readable, lightweight and thin,” said Nick Colaneri, director of the FDC. “This is an outstanding example of how the Flexible Display Center collaborates with our partners and other technology providers to create innovative solutions that address the rapidly growing market for flexible electronic displays.”
A video demonstrating the new touchscreen is available here.

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