Category Archives: Wearable Computing

Ideally computers will be small, powerful and portable.

Programmable Tattoos

As an alternative to a flexible wearable display, how about a subdermal display? Or else one painted onto the skin? OhmyNews.com, a source for some occasionally startling tech news, reports that this may be in our future.

There was only a brief mention of my favourite option (video), but more details on another technique which would paint three thin layers onto the skin: two conductive matrices aligned orthogonally to each other, with a special ink solution between the two. It’s a pretty cool read, and lends hope to those of us who hope to have digital clocks glowing through our skin before too long.

OLEDs are evolving

But will they surpass LEDs for lighting applications? That’s one of the questions posed in this WorldChanging article. OLEDs are hanging out at the lower end of LED efficiency for now (still twice as efficient as incandescents, and nowhere near as efficient as fluorescents), and it’s difficult to predict which technology will advance further.

The exciting thing about OLEDS is that they are used by sandwiching a layer of phosphorescent material between two conductors. This means that the whole device could take the form of a flexible sheet or a special paint — they can even be printed using modified inkjet printers. And since a display made of OLEDs both produces a better picture than an LCD screen and changes its image faster, it seems like just a matter of price before they replace laptop screens.

Best of all, OLEDs are greener to produce than either LEDs or fluorescents.

Head-mounted display from Mirage Innovations

Mirage Innovations have come up with a new head-mounted display that purports to overcome many of the limitations of current technologies.

This device, the size of a large pair of sunglasses, provides the illusion of a 40″ display at 7′. As near as I can tell (please add details if you have them) this is accomplished by getting an image source (such as micro LCD, LCOS or OLED) to project through a thin transparent substrate plate that diffracts the light outward, then inward to hit the eyes at a wide angle.

This may not wind up being the be-all and end-all of HMDs — we’ll see what the reviews look like when it goes to market — but it’s an important step.