Back in 2004, RobertXCringely was enthused by this company who could use roll based printing of switch arrays for screens. Potentially making them very big and very cheap.
Some futures take longer to arrive than others. Back in 2001, I wrote about a company called Rolltronics that was working on adapting roll-to-roll printing technology to the production of amorphous semiconductors on plastic films. Their goal was a $15 PC that could literally be printed on a press like a newspaper with different layers for battery, motherboard, graphics controller, display, keyboard, etc. Well, the company is still working toward that dream, but the more variables you try to change at once, the longer it takes and the more risk you have to accept. So on its way to the future, Rolltronics decided to make a few bucks by applying some of these ideas just to displays and the results look to be amazing. We're talking not just about displays that are cheaper to make (perhaps a third the cost of current technology), but that are flexible and paper-thin. Lower prices can lead to market acceptance, but what people really like is something that looks brand new and opens up new application possibilities, and the new Rolltronics displays promise to do that. Imagine an HDTV you take home under your arm in a cardboard shipping tube and attach to your wall with thumbtacks or carpet tape.
They clearly don't exist now. But I wonder if the technology was developed. Perhaps it's boringly mainstream now.
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