We've told you about Plastic Logic's prototype color flexible displays that can be cut with scissors and keep on working. We've also told you about the multi-display window flexible tablet PC prototype the company co-developed with Intel and Queen's University. UK-based Plastic Logic has now combined its expertise with French company ISORG to create what the pair tout as a first in flexible printed electronics: a large area, conformable, organic image sensor printed on plastic.
An image sensor, of course, is the heart of a camera. A camera's image quality, resolution, sensitivity to light, and ability to capture moving images without distortion are all dependent on its image sensor chip. So a flexible image sensor, especially one that can be printed on plastic, would be revolutionary.
There has been interesting innovations in printed electronics in the last couple of year. But a majority of these devices / applications have been in short term and disposable type products. More information on their reliability and accuracy over time needs to be made available.
I see two interesting possibilities. First, take a sheet of this sensor material (with embedded lenses), roll it into a cylinder, and you have a 360 degree panoramic camera! Secondly, the ubiquitous sensors could be used as motion detectors - not as external cameras looking at the human but rather as a camera attached to the human (wristband) detecting the apparent motion of the environment and thereby deducing the person's gestures.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.