Perhaps one of the
biggest changes in the future won't be in what we are seeing on computer
monitors, but in the monitors themselves. Monitors today can weigh
up to 50 pounds, and take up a considerable amount of desk space.
This is the area where the monitors of the future will amaze us.
They will be inches thick and provide picture quality better than anything
attainable now. Companies have already released liquid crystal displays
(LCD) though the prices remain near one thousand dollars. LCD monitors
do not require tubes, the main space taker in a CRT display. Instead
LCD monitors work by passing a current through an electrically active substance.
These new monitors are just inches thick.
Although the technology is here now, LCD monitors
will not take off until after the year 2000. The prices today are
too high, and the advantages aren't great enough. But once the prices
lower, the average user will have access to flat panel displays.
The entire computing experience will be redefined as monitors hang on the
wall instead of sitting on a desk. It will be possible to put a monitor
in the middle of a room, and put the computer itself somewhere else.
Even today, we can begin to see a glimpse of the
monitors that come after LCD monitors. Companies have already begun
testing monitors that would be millimeters thick. Cambridge Display
Technology, a company based outside of Cambridge in England, is testing
displays built with light-emitting polymers (LEPs). The company
recently constructed a working tv screen that was only 2 millimeters thick.
Unlike LCDs, these displays could be millimeters thick, and simply be attached
to other items. This leads to endless possibilities, including displays
that can be rolled up when not in use.
Regardless of the monitor technology that takes over,
the monitors of the future will be smaller, and the picture quality will
be better. And as the displays change, so will our whole concept
Return to Future Main