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Roll-­p Computers and Their Kin


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ASU's Flexible Display Center

Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center is developing flexible computer screens for the U.S. Army.

Credit: Phillip Spears / Arizona State University

Digital reading technology has evolved from the original Amazon Kindle, which cost $400 and displayed four shades of gray, to devices that are much less expensive and offer significantly better displays. Analysts expect prices to continue to fall and for e-readers to come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

"The paper book is dead," says digital visionary Nicholas Negroponte, who predicts the price of e-readers could eventually fall to $20. Negroponte runs One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit group that has developed a slate computer set for release in 2012. He says the device will cost less than $100, will be made out of plastic and unbreakable, and will "use so little power you should be able to shake it or wind it up to give it power."

Meanwhile, Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center is working with the United States Army to develop flexible, unbreakable screens and devices for use on the battlefield. "Truly bendable displays have other engineering challenges to solve just beyond making the screens bend," says center director Nick Colaneri. "Still, it wouldn't surprise me to see some start to make it to market in innovative designs in the next three to five years."

From The New York Times
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