Before working at Microsoft Research Labs, Gary Starkweather invented the laser printer at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center and won an Academy Award for his work on film scanning.
Now he's developing a new computer display. Kristi Heim has the story.
Starkweather has found that using a semicircular monitor three times as wide as the standard one can improve people's productivity, allowing them to take advantage of their peripheral vision and to spend less time opening and closing different windows.
Ordinary computer users have displays that cover less than 10 percent of their physical work space. Meanwhile, they have to sort through an ever-increasing deluge of electronic information.
Starkweather's new prototype screen is 12 inches high, 44 inches wide and curved 90 degrees. He uses digital light projectors and telescope mirrors to remove the distortion caused by the curved screen. The screen is five times as bright as a standard cathode ray tube or liquid crystal display monitor, helping to reduce eye fatigue.
What about price and availability?
For now, Starkweather's large screen display is still in the prototype stage. A few hardware makers have expressed interest in Starkweather's screen, but it's too early to discuss specifics, he said.
The model cost about $25,000 to build, and replacing just one of its light bulbs costs about $400.
This is still much more expensive than a couple of traditional monitors, so Gary Starkweather is busy working with cheaper technologies.
To make such larger displays economical for the mass market. Starkweather thinks the answer lies in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology -- tiny mechanical parts fabricated from silicon that perform functions like sensing motion or deflecting light.
Inexpensive silicon chips incorporating MEMS technology, combined with a miniature light source, create a new kind of display module. The module consists of mirrors and shutters on silicon with tiny lenses twice the diameter of a hair.
The prototype may look -- or not -- like the illustration shown on page 18 of the PDF version of a presentation Starkweather gave on June 18, 2002, "Increasing Screen Size, Valuing Productivity."
Source: Kristi Heim, San Jose Mercury News, January 11, 2003
2:02:25 PM Permalink