While it won't got to market for years, GE recently revealed that it had developed a cost effective way to make organic light-emitting diodes, which are used in some televisions, portable screens, and computer monitors -- and in the near future may be used to light up your walls. OLED displays beat out traditional LCDs in that they don't need a power sucking back light, but the mega benefit is that they can be printed onto almost any surface, including flexible surfaces.
DVICE talked to one of the GE researchers working to make OLED manufacturing so affordable you could wallpaper your entire home with the the material. While they're working on creating paper that can light up in different colors, their manufacturing technology could one day make it possible for you to change the scenery on your wall from a landscape of Lake Tahoe to the streets of Shibuya with the click of your mouse...
"The big fantasy product that we always talk about is lighting wallpaper," Anil Duggal told DVICE. "We want all offices and homes to have this very flexible light source. When I say flexible, I mean a mechanically flexible light source that you can just paste wherever you want it and turn it on."
"We've proven that these things can be made color tunable, so that you can have different swatches of the room lit up in different colors. You can actually even make these things transparent, so you could even imagine putting it on a window."
Duggal and his colleagues are developing a cost-effective process called, "roll-to-roll," which allows large quantities of flexible OLEDs to be cranked out on conventional printing presses currently used to coat plastics. "It's at least 10 times, probably more," said Duggal. And his OLEDS are twice as efficient as incandescent bulbs (though we should note that compact fluorescent bulbs are almost seven times as efficient). Duggal hopes to get his roll-to-roll OLEDS closer to CFs in efficiency by 2010.
Photo courtesy: DVICE