The computer interface
The replacement for the current PC interface is a drafting board,
perhaps with a cordless keyboard. An inclined 3 foot wide by 2 foot
deep surface you can write on. Projectors on adjustable arms on
either side of the writing surface will project the computer display
an angle onto that board (you need two so your hand doesn't block
the display). Something akin to cordless mice and GPS will figure out
where your pen touches the board. The board is, well, a wooden board,
or whatever other writing surface you prefer. The board is covered
with a black surface, except reflective
of narrow frequencies of red, green, and blue, so that it reflects
the projectors fine but doesn't reflect ambient light.
Why will this win?
- It's more flexible. If you want a 6 foot by 4 foot display
instead of a 3 foot by 2 foot one, there's a software control for
that. It can be place on any preexisting hard flat surface. The
display can be cast on top of a map.
- It's more redundant. If one pixel in one projector goes dead, the
computer notices and shines that pixel in the other projector twice as
bright. Both corresponding pixels have to go before you see a dead
pixel. Mean time to failure is longer, even if you ship less reliable
- It will be cheaper. As noted in redundancy, the chips are allowed
to have a few dead pixels (less than sqrt(n) if there are n pixels),
so quality problems aren't as severe as with modern LCD displays.
Each of the two projectors is some lightbulbs and some chips with
mirrors, so there's no lower limit on the size and weight of the
actual hardware. As you reduce the size and weight of something mass
produced towards zero, you reduce the price towards zero too. The
black writing surface could be a piece of paper on any hard flat
surface. The pen and adjustable arms are the only things with
unavoidable size and weight.
- It's a more natural interface. People prefer looking down at an
angle to looking straight ahead. The current disconnect of moving
your hand on a mouse here while watching a cursor on a screen there is
awkward, and eliminated by a pen on the board. It's hard to smudge
the display if it's a projected image on a black piece of paper. And
it's bigger than current displays. Artists and architects, who need
to draw on paper and could arrange things however they want, tend to
choose inclined surfaces like this.
I put this on the halfbakery. They suggested instead having a
purpose-made desk with a frosted glass surface, and put the projector
under the desk shining up through the frosted glass. That would
eliminate the problem of shadows. It would require a purpose-made
Bob Predicts the Future
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