In the fast evolving world of technology, we are bombarded with more advanced and new forms of computing devices from cell phones to home theaters. Even our movies are becoming more technologically advanced with the rise of 3D movies, the screen we have grown accustomed to seem something of the past.
Displays are everywhere, from our phones, home entertainment, car stereos, and even in our grocery stores as advertising tools. The physical nature of displays is ever growing from 3D cell phone screens (that no longer require glasses) to fabrics and jewelry becoming forms of displays.
Author Lev Manovich discusses in his essay, The Screen and the User, how the impact of displays have changed how users feel about such media. Once the screen was a mere means to display a photograph, painting, or movie, giving the user the ability to become one with the media. Now, with more advanced displays the user is becoming more and more engulfed in the experience causing the virtual and physical spaces to mesh.
"The virtual space, previously confined to a painting or a movie screen, now completely encompasses the real space (Manovich 97)."
Advanced displays can be seen every day becoming more prevalent and accepted in all walks of society. New technology called OLED or Organic LED will soon be available giving users a transparent organic form of the diode that can be implemented in various surfaces including fabric and walls.
Some displays may even be created using everyday organic substances via converting their molecular structure to create an OLED. In the example below a pickle is used to emit a chemical reaction that causes it to glow thus illustrating how the OLED technology will be implemented for displays of the future. Do you want your pickle selling other products to you?
Whether the displays are curved, transparent, or organically displayed the user craves more immersion with their electronic devices. Whether escaping their own reality, playing a game, or trying to feel “part” of a theater experience more people are implementing ways to incorporate themselves into their entertainment.
The TripleHead2Go by Matrox is yet another advancement not of the future, but available now allowing the use of several monitors on a PC. The monitors are usually set up to give the user a “surrounded” feel for gaming, workflow, or simply for more desktop space. The affordable system has become quite popular in the gaming and art community for a more interactive feel of computer usage.
The future of our computer displays seems almost foreshadowed by the movie Minority Report where advertisements use an ocular recognition system to peddle their latest wares to consumers walking down the street. Will screens be able to perform such farfetched tasks? Author Kelvin Kelly of Wired Magazine believes so in his November 12th article in the New York Times 2008 edition.
“It is a formidable task, but in the past decade computers have gotten much better at recognizing objects in a picture than most people realize. Researchers have started training computers to recognize a human face. Specialized software can rapidly inspect a photograph’s pixels searching for the signature of a face: circular eyeballs within a larger oval, shadows that verify it is spherical. Once an algorithm has identified a face, the computer could do many things with this knowledge: search for the same face elsewhere, find similar-looking faces or substitute a happier version (Kelly 5).”
Websites like Facebook.com have implemented an algorithm that allows face matching when users upload digital images. The code finds an image once tagged by the uploader then matches the face shape to all other images that contain that person. The technology is still evolving, but what more will our computers and their displays be capable of?
How will such forms of advertising, facial recognition, and constant bombardment of digital displays affect human beings both mentally and physically? Will our eyes evolve to adapt to these new forms of technology? Will our minds become more scattered and less able to focus, or just the opposite will we become more machine like being able to, multitask hundreds if not thousands of tasks in moments? It is definitely something that we should all ponder.
Kelly, Kelvin, “Becoming Screen Literate,” The New York Times, pp 1-5, Nover 21, 2008 URL:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/magazine/23wwln-future-t.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&ref=techno
Manovich, Lev, “The Screen and the User,” The Archaeology of a Computer Screen, pp 94-115, 1995 URL:http://www.manovich.net/TEXT/digital_nature.html