back to article Flippin' heck, meet the Internet of Things wallpaper

British inventor Andrew Fentem has come up with a way of cheaply turning fabric into large active displays. Fentem, who pioneered multitouch input technology 15 years ago, only to see a UK quango squander the innovation and Apple reap the reward, calls the new display “organic pixels”. He’s invented an ulta-thin magnetic …

  1. Jimmy2Cows

    Elegantly simple, but his site is full of marketing BS

    Like it. A wonderfully simple idea that looks like it could scale to cover vast areas whilst being lighter than existing solutions and using a lot less power.

    Sure, it's a variant on the mechanical flip-pixel displays but without all that bulkiness. Well done indeed.

    Unintended flipping due to breezes might be an issue but could be engineered around; encase the screens (or subsections of very large screens) comes to mind. All in all a very clever solution.

    Then I looked at his website... sigh... hoping for some more detail about the magnetic control processes, but no...

    Besides opening up new aesthetic possibilities, this technology is radical in two engineering respects - it does not use conventional electromagnets to move the pixels, and it achieves complex pixel movements without a complex control system. In other words - it shouldn't work, but careful co-evolution of the hardware components and the control software has created a surprisingly elegant and effective design (patent pending).

    In other words - it shouldn't work

    Argh!! Hates that.

    What? You designed it to do something else and this was an entirely unexpected result? Bollocks!

    Of course it should work! It's what you made it to do.

    The fact you do it with a slimmed out electromagnetic process - that at a wild guess varies the attraction and repulsion laterally across each pixel with respect to the backing to flip it then stick it back down - is a neat discovery, but don't play us for morons by saying it shouldn't work.

  2. RainForestGuppy

    That's cool.

  3. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    Literally, and metaphorically.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    suddenly reminded of the old "rotate/flip" train displays in London

    they were replaced with LED pixels of course.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same...

  5. choleric

    But can it play...

    What sort of refresh rate are we talking about here? Not exactly flicker free.

    Presumably only for monochrome displays also. Multicolour displays would bring a whole new meaning to the term colour-depth.

    On another tack, I'm sure they amped up the sound of the flicking, but I love that noise.

  6. nematoad Silver badge

    Does not compute

    "Many engineers work under classic assumption that future is going to be white and shiny and invisible."

    OK, white and shiny I can imagine. But white shiny and invisible?

    Surely if it was invisible you wouldn't be able to tell if it was either white or shiny, could you?

    Maybe it's just marketeer speak but I reckon he should stick to the day job and let "creatives" do the marketing spiel for him.

  7. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Re: Does not compute


    "Invisible" here is clearly intended in the common metaphoric sense of "the implementation is as hidden from the user as is possible". That's a very widely used sense of the term in UI/UX/UIM research, HCI research, industrial design, etc.

    Fentem's statement is apt and incisive. We need more people who think that way, as an antidote for the Jony Ives of the world.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it based on

    The same technology as the pyrolytic maglev "robots" featured recently?

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