The way in which machines communicate with their users, and with each other, and how they “feel” their environment in order to adapt to it and change what they are doing, will evolve greatly in the years to come. There will be a common thread, however: an increasingly frequent integration of digital interfaces into objects and spaces, and a more natural dialogue with machines. This document provides a few examples of current developments.

Screens sold by the metre

Not only will OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) technologies, which use carbon instead of glass, facilitate the mass production of higher contrast, lower cost, less fragile and more economic screens than those we have today, but their physical characteristics will make totally new uses possible. Screens will be able to be flexible, transparent, or phosphorescent; they will be able to imprint themselves on any surface… We will likely see screens of some kind or another appear on all sorts of objects, surfaces, vehicles, etc.

Un écran OLED souple

of the most spectacular applications of these new screens will be real “electronic paper,” whether it take the form of scroll versions of the daily paper or PDA organizers with foldable screens and digitalised covers. OLED screens cost much less than LCD ones to manufacture, and some industrial heavyweights are already announcing screens with a 13m diagonal, while others are thinking of selling scroll-style screens whose size can be adjusted to the walls of a room, for example –– almost like a carpet! However, you don’t always need a screen to broadcast texts and images: it is already possible to project images (albeit very simple ones currently, such as short texts) into the air. Several companies have been selling glasses with a small LCD screen. The next step will doubtless be retinal projection, which will probably see its first “general public” use before 2010. It is already being put to professional and artistic use.