A DEVICE that fits in a shirt pocket but is
still capable of displaying an image a
metre wide is being developed by Motorola, the us communications company.
When the new high-tech pager hits
the shelves in two years' time, it will
usher in a new generation of messaging
devices that can handle pictures, faxes,
E-mail and even scan Worldwide Web
pages from the Internet. The tiny 'image
pager' could perhaps render mobile
video-phones the popularity that
mobile phones are enjoying today.
The pager, which measures 3 cm X 5
cm, is held before one's eyes and a lense
system creates the illusion of a screen
130 cms away measuring 65 cm high x
"We call it a virtual display, "says
Harry Hollack, director, Compound
Semiconductor Technologies at Motorola's research laboratories in Tempe,
Arizona, USA. Hollack heads a special
team that seeks to introduce the virtual
display to the market in 1997. Motorola
believes it will revolutionise the market
for hand-held pagers.
While small liquid crystal display
(LCD) screens are familiar in pocket TVs
and virtual-reality handsets, they are
not effective for mobile applications
because they consume too much power,
which means they need bulky battery
Motorola claims to have got round
the problem by using an array of light
emitting diodes (LEDs) and a lens design
that allows displays to dispense with a
back-lit screen. "The virtual display
with LEDs consumes about one-third
of the power used by a back-lit LCD
screen," says Hollack.
According to Hollack, Motorola is
working with other consumer electronics and communications companies
that view this device as the key to a new
world of mobile multi-media. As for the
pager's development, "there will be
something real interesting to show next
year," he promises.
At the moment the device can display up to 14 lines of text, each able to
hold 40 characters, or the equivalent in
pictures or graphics. The prototype is
monichrome and the quality of the resolution is only one-eighth of that on a
standard computer monitor.
Hollack says picture quality will be
twice as good the next year, followed by
monochrome pictures Of VGA standard.
He predicts that a colour version will be
available by 1996.