Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, October 10, 2008

Plastic film could make house lights obsolete

msnbc - October 10, 2008, by Peter Svensson

Flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) could be lighting's future

NISKAYUNA, N.Y. - On a bank of the Mohawk River, a windowless industrial building of corrugated steel hides something that could make floor lamps, bedside lamps, wall sconces and nearly every other household lamp obsolete.

It's a machine that prints lights.

The size of a semitrailer, it coats an 8-inch wide plastic film with chemicals, then seals them with a layer of metal foil. Apply electric current to the resulting sheet, and it lights up with a blue-white glow.

You could tack that sheet to a wall, wrap it around a pillar or even take a translucent version and tape it to your windows. Unlike practically every other source of lighting, you wouldn't need a lamp or conventional fixture for these sheets, though you would need to plug them into an outlet.

The sheets owe their luminance to compounds known as organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs. While there are plenty of problems to be worked out with the technology, it's not the dream of a wild-eyed startup.

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