Remember the city in "Blade Runner," where the sides of buildings were giant animated graphics displays? It could happen sooner than many thought.
The online media were all over the story of a deal between E Ink, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup, and Lucent Technologies (LU) to work on flexible displays that are stamped out on a printing press. Both Wired News' Leander Kahney and Reuters, whose story MSNBC carried, covered the basics of the press release. Both also talked to market researcher Amy Wohl, who mentioned that the E Ink-Lucent partnership will compete with a similar joint effort between Xerox (XRX) and 3M.
ZDNet missed this angle, but reporter Robert Lemos' earlier work on the technology allowed him to bring more depth to his coverage of this development. One of his stories from last March had noted that E Ink and Lucent were "good friends." And Lemos nailed the economic advantage of flexible displays: Instead of a $1 billion factory, all the companies need is a printing plant a few thousand times cheaper. Electronic books could get real. Widen the presses a bit, and voila - Times Square goes Blade Runner.
E-Paper Closer to Delivery
Lucent to Develop Electronic Paper
Digital Paper Turns a New Page
Plastic Transistors Get Rubber Stamp (March 24, 1999)
Plastic Transistors Make Processors Printable (March 30, 1999)