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Houston Business Show commentator Richard Sonnier, of the Information Technology Services firm Nimble Services, Inc., provides weekly information on our show about information technology issues. Mr. Sonnier can be reached at 281.445.4800 x 250 or

Future Technology

At my company, Nimble Services, we are constantly surveying the technology landscape for new technologies that will improve the use of computers and networks for business. Recently, we have been looking at a company called Microvision Corporation and their technology that could revolutionize computer displays.

Display Technologies Today

Today, you can get computer displays or monitors as CRT's or LCD's. CRT's are big and bulky but tend to have higher quality, especially brightness and contrast. However, the CRT is hard on the eyes. LCD's are easier on the eyes, lighter and take up less space on your desk. The LCD's are more expensive and have less brightness and contrast. However, over the past few years the price has come way down and the quality has improved. It appears that LCD's are well on the path to replacing the traditional CRT monitors.

While LCD's do in fact have advantages in terms of space and power usage, they do not address the issue of resolution and mobility. The average laser printer prints at 1200 dots per inch while the computer monitor displays at 75-100 dots per inch. This is why printed text looks so much better that text displayed on a computer screen. The problems are especially difficult on small devices like cell phones and PDA's. The human eye can process incredible amounts of information but we need higher resolution and larger screens.

Scanned-Beam Displays

Microvision has a solution called Scanned-Beam Displays. The technology projects the image directly into the eye using tiny mirrors and a light source. Thus, information goes directly from the computer to the eye with greater resolution, higher contrast and brightness, a full range of colors, and very low power usage. These displays offer the promise of even smaller computing devices since the display will be an eyepiece. The display would become like the earphone that you plug into your cell phone today for hands-free operations. The technology supports superimposing the computer display on the user's field of view or what is referred to as a heads-up display. In one application, automobile technicians can see detailed repair manuals and information while they are working on the car. This eliminates going back and forth referring to the manual or computer screen. Microvision claims that the new system pays for itself in less than 3 months.


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