Wallpaper television a reality


By Alexander Lawrie

THE LIVING room of the future could look very different if scientists in Japan have their way.

Boffins working for electronic giants Toshiba are currently developing a new type of wallpaper that can also be used as a television screen.

And as well as being able to turn entire rooms into a giant television set, the innovative, flexible paper can also show images that suit the mood of the occasion such as a sun kissed Caribbean beach, an underwater seascape or a view of the great outdoors.

The remarkable breakthrough in wall coverings is the result of years of experiments and scientific improvements in organic electroluminescence (OLED) screen technology.

According to Toshiba, the latest tests have also enabled the new paper to emit light.

In a statement, the company said: “OLED is anticipated to become an important light-emitting device for the next generation.

“The wallpaper uses light that has been redirected by an ultra-fine grating that is fabricated by self-assembled nano-particles.

“It would seem that the effect might be similar to that of a Fresnel lens like those used in traffic lights, amplifying the intensity without requiring additional energy.”

Scientists have been working for years trying to overcome the ways to increase the efficiency of existing OLED devices, such as televisions, that used the reduced-energy material.

To achieve that process, the wallpaper uses light that has been redirected by an ultra-fine grating, which is fabricated by self-assembled nano-particles.

Another major advantage of the new technology is that the wallpaper would also be able to emit light into a room – meaning an end for traditional lighting.

When asked when the breakthrough will make its way into the average home, Toshiba said that television wallpaper is still “several years away from commercial production”.

The project is one of the core pursuits of the electronics firm’s nanotechnology division – the rapidly advancing field of science concerned with the manipulation of materials measuring one billionth of a metre.

Toshiba’s ambitious plans, which exploit the self-assembling properties of certain molecules, were unveiled at Tokyo’s annual nanotechnology conference, one of the largest academic and industrial get-togethers of its type.