Color-Shift Particles: The Future of Outdoor Displays

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The outdoor home theater of the future is going to be super-high-tech if this new display technology catches on: Tiny nanoparticles that shift colors in response to external changing magnetic fields. Wired reports that the tiny molecules could easily and (relatively) inexpensively be used to create outdoor displays…

If you’re into sciencey talk, you can read the article at Wired for yourself, but the short story is that a bunch of really smart sciencey types figured out that you can make polymer beads, called magnetochromatic microspheres and filled with magnetic nanostructures, change colors by also changing the external magnetic field around them. With a bunch of the colored beads, like pixels, you could make an entire image appear.

The display we’re talking about would be low in energy usage and hyper-readable in direct sunlight, making it perfect for an outdoor movie screening.

The big news is that this technology is close to commercialization, according to one of those aforementioned sciencey guys:

“If you want a huge LCD display outside the house it can be uneconomical,” [Yadong Yin, an assistant professor of chemistry at University of California, Riverside] says. “We can do it for much cheaper with this new technology.”

Backyard screen image from timtimes at Flickr with a Creative Commons License.