background image
28 DigiCULT
puting on a single battery charge, and considera-
ble gains in battery life. However, due to safety issues
they may not make it into handheld and mobile
devices for many years, perhaps never.
49
Increase of power density, control of energy con-
sumption, and creation of long lifecycle batteries are
still key research goals. These are important because
ubiquitous computing and communication also needs
ubiquitous availability of energy sources. Batteries
and micro-energy generators will play a crucial role
for the emerging ambient intelligence space.
50
Alongside future generations of handheld mobile
devices and personal digital assistants, `wearables' are
evolving rapidly.
51
Such near-body devices form a
fairly broad category, which includes, for example,
clothing that records biodata, glasses with headphones
embedded in the sides and information display via
the lenses, leisure and sports wear with integrated
MP3 player, mobile telephony and other features,
clothing or bags for children with a display for play-
ing games, GPS localisation, and miniature micro-
phone or camera.
52
Wearables may also form the centrepiece of per-
sonal or body area networks that connect the indi-
vidual to an adaptive intelligent environment. In
particular, the fusion of the mass-market electron-
ics and textiles & accessories has a high potential for
application areas such as entertainment, security and
health.
53
Other areas where wearables are expected
to see wider use are various professional environ-
ments such as medical care, maintenance and
emergency.
54
N
OVEL
DISPLAYS
AND
INTERFACES
T
he next ten years will see a diversification and
much wider spread of displays. A variety of
technologies are promising to offer new ways of dis-
Some likely innovations in displays and
data projection
Bill Buxton, IT designer and consultant, gives the
following examples of probable near- to medium-
term innovations in displays and data projection
applications:
`(...) take a look at the plasma panels that are re-
placing signs and posters at cinemas and airports.
If these devices are being used now, when they
cost about $10,000 apiece, imagine what we'll see
when technologies like light-emitting polymers
and e-Ink allow us to make even larger, thinner
and higher-quality displays for perhaps as little as
$100. In the mid-1800s, the introduction of the
blackboard revolutionized classroom education.
These displays could have a similar impact, not
only in classrooms (in the form of electronic whi-
teboards) but also for signs, home entertainment
and even interior wallpaper.
`At the same time, we are seeing the emergence of
smaller, brighter and cheaper data projectors. The
technology in supermarket bar-code scanners is
being transformed to create miniature high-reso-
lution color laser projectors the size of a fingertip.
Within a couple of years you will see them inte-
grated into your cell phone and pda; if you want
to view data that won't fit on such small screens
or if you want to look at the information with
someone else, you can use those devices to pro-
ject it onto any wall, tabletop or other surface so
it appears as large as you'd like, always in focus.'
Bill Buxton, "Forward into the Past" in TIME
Magazine: Visions of Tomorrow, Special Report, Vol.
164, No. 15, 11 October 2004. http://www.time.
com/time/covers/1101041011/nextessay.html#
49
Cf. Ron Schneiderman,
"On and On Forever" in
Vision, September/October
2003. http://www.ce.org/
publications/vision/
2003/sepoct/p14.
asp?bc=dept&department_
id=14; see also Shier 2004
(above); forecasts to 2012
for fuel cells are given
by ABI research (2003).
http://www.abiresearch.
com/market_research/
fuelcells.jsp
50
Cf. Fistera 2004, Fistera
Technology Database:
Small Devices for Energy
Storage/Production. http://
fistera.telecomitalialab.
com/keepaneyeon.htm
51
For a rich overview of
current work in wearable
technologies, see http://
whisper.surrey.sfu.ca/
whisper_lit_review.htm
52
In the area of wearable
electronics, industrial coop-
erations have, for example,
been established between
Philips and Levi Strauss &
Co., Infinion and O'Neill
Europe, and others. For
images and descriptions of
the current generation of
products, see http://www.
extra.research.philips.
com/pressmedia/pictures/
wearelec.html; http://www.
oneilleurope.com/
technical/hub.asp
53
For more information
on smart textiles, see
EPSRC Network Smart
textiles for intelligent
consumer products (UK,
http://www.smartextiles.
net; Wearable Electronic
& Smart Textiles (WEST)
Interest Group. http://
www.smartextiles.info
54
See the Integrated
Project wearIT@work,
http://wearable-
computing.de, which
will develop a Wearable
Computing Roadmap.
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