We read once that human eyes lose their sensitivity to color over time, which is why memories of the green grass and blue sky from your toddler days seem so, well, green and blue. Fading eyesight explains why old people in Florida wear plaid pants, and perhaps why U.S. sports fans have now become dolts that watch 3-D television projections of the game while they sit in the very stadiums in which the game is being played.
Now we certainly don’t mean to offend anyone who enjoys watching people in spandex bump into each other; in some countries that is not tolerated but here in America we call it football. Our point: The emergence of cheap, giant-screen, flat-panel screens is starting to encroach on reality. Panasonic chief Toshihiro Sakamoto opened CES this year with a 150-inch plasma called, fittingly, the Life Screen — not to be confused with the Life Wall, another Panasonic treat that covers entire walls of a consumer’s home. (Imagine it: “Honey, I told you to turn off that wallpaper!”) Light-bulb-maker Philips has been playing with screens that intercept reality via clear glass, so you can look outside a window or wave your hand to grow a shade tree to block the neighbor’s view.
No real news here except the fakery of colored images has been arriving for a while; U.S. office workers spend one-third of each day in front of a screen moving numbers and words around, then drive home to watch the tube. The Super Bowl is almost here and consumers are talking more about the upcoming ads, to be shown on screens, than the game itself. The players meanwhile will dance around a moving yellow line on the field that doesn’t really exist, except for video projection and GPS camera technology giving fans at home a clear view of where the ball needs to go. Reality, it was lovely; we’ll miss you when you’re gone.
Philips continues its series of design probes, which previously featured electronic tattoos embedded in human skin and mood-changing dresses, onward to how electronics can save the environment. “Off the grid: Sustainable Habitat 2020” notes that the rapid growth of human population doesn’t need to destroy our living spaces.
In the next 20 years 200 new megacities will rise up. How to respond? Minimize the space and energy needs of each single family. Philips is working on designs that change how light, air and water move through buildings, turning “dumb” materials into “functional skins” that collect and distribute energy. It’s all a bit trippy, suggesting our human waste can be converted to power that heats the food in our kitchen. But with all of us eventually running out of space, Philips takes the long view of cutting edge.
(Note to Philips: You’re scoring points with this green-guy stuff. So when will we Yanks get your cool colored bulbs in the U.S.?)
The body as an LED screen. Could happen.
Philips has launched a series of “design probes” that explore the merger of electronics and human form. Tattoos that grow or disappear based on touch. Jewelry that adheres to women’s chests. Dresses filled with mood-shifting lights.
Unfortunately this video of teens embracing doesn’t show off the possibilities. Instead, Philips could have revealed how human-embedded electronics might revolutionize communication. Bank passcodes that light up (ink up?) when requested. User IDs for government access. Hand currency that shows current account balances. Mobile video screens that glow on your forearm. Health care monitors that ink up when blood pressure rises. Nikeplus mileage counters as you run.
But sexy young people unclothed? Well, the future might have that, too.
Found by Orange Element and Garret Ohm.
What will happen to communications when every wall, window and countertop is a computer screen?
Andy up in Vancouver points out Philips, mentioned in our last post, has even more super-cool technology that turns clear glass panels into video screens. So, for example, you can turn a window into the illusion of a shade tree growing outside. By waving your hands.
Freaky. Cool. And details in Spanish, but you’ll get the drift.
We’ll miss you, Mr. Edison.
Old light bulbs are going out, because they use way too much juice. Home lighting eats up about 20-25% of a typical home’s electric bill, and environmental advocates and Wal-Mart are pushing new, more efficient lighting.
Yet you know those new energy-efficient fluorescents Al Gore wants you to buy are, well, a little cold. Kind of like having a mini-operating table lamp casting sterile blue-white rays over your kitchen. Sometimes the new fluorescents flicker and shudder. Ouch.
Now, NYT says the next generation of home lighting is coming, L.E.D.’s that — like a TV screen — can emit any color of the rainbow. They’re digital, they’re wired, and you can call home to reset the colors.
Imagine turning up the mood-blue lighting, or switching to yellow for sunlight warmth, or kicking back in a dark-red glow for the glass of wine on a Friday night. The future is coming. The bulbs use just a trickle of electricity. Too bad the bulbs still cost about $90 and you have to fly to Europe to get the coolest, but we hear the price and supplies are moving our way.
Philips shows off the possibilities here.