Imagine walking into the room of tomorrow... no need to reach for a light switch; the walls are already gently glowing with scenes of an undersea paradise. Hit the remote and one wall transforms into a floor-to-ceiling TV screen or the backdrop to the newest video game.
Sound like a dream? Engineers at Japan's Toshiba corporation are well on the way to making it reality.
The crux of the biscuit is the wallpaper. Not just ANY wallpaper, of course, this is a specially developed material that utilizes flexible OLED (organic electroluminescence) screen technology to emit light in a controlled manner.
Anything from a featureless glow that serves as room lighting to action-packed movies, TV programs and computer games is possible. Those impressed by the newest flat screen TV wall mounts are sure to do a neck-snapping double take.
Although OLEDs are not new, their low efficiency has been a roadblock to more widespread applications. Toshiba's answer is nanotechnology.
According to Toshiba spokesman Kaori Hiraki, "The wallpaper uses light that has been redirected by an ultra-fine grating that is fabricated by self-assembled nano particles." It would seem that the effect might be similar to that of a Fresnel lens like those used in traffic lights, amplifying the intensity without requiring additional energy.
OLED displays in use today require a fraction of the energy needed to power comparable Plasma or LCD flat-screen televisions. With nanotech gratings boosting their efficiency, "OLED is anticipated to become an important light-emitting device for the next generation." Not to mention the coming obselescence of any type of flat TV mounts.
When asked just when this breakthrough will make its way into the average home, Toshiba replied that television wallpaper is "several years away from commercial production." (via Telegraph UK and Engadget)