Dual-Mode Screen Up Close and Revolutionary


Backlight On - Click for a Closeup

Yesterday I attempted to do what so many other's have tried to do, render in pixels the full eye-catching hot properties of the One Laptop Per Child dual-mode laptop screen developed by Mary Lou Jepsen. And I tried to do it with a lowly Nokia 6682 no less.

To the right is my attempt, as bad as or worse than others. Maybe worse because watching Walter Bender switch the screen from full color backlit to flat black and white was so stunning that at first I forgot to photograph it.

Imagine the screen you are looking at right now without that backlight shining through. The screen itself drops to a darkness equal to the light reflecting off it. But magically, the screen is still readable.

In fact, I could not tell a difference in pixel clarity between the backlit and non-backlit screens. There was an annoying glare of the glass but (hopefully) that is a simple fix. Still, the transition between full color backlit to monochrome reflective was seamless and interestingly, variable. You could have the screen backlit by degrees, not just on/off.

The dual-mode display is also stunning when you look at its power consumption while doing its tricks. A typical laptop screen consumes 8-10 Watts. The OLPC display only consumes 1 and then slips into reflective mode and drops down to .1 Watt (note that's one tenth a Watt!) without visible loss in detail.

Backlight Off - Click for Closeup

If you combine that low-Watt screen with Jim Gettys' speedy suspend/resume and Christopher Blizzard's super-thin Sugar UI all in an adult laptop, say the People's Machine OX2, you're now talking days of power-computing, a cord-cutting revolution for road-warrior businessmen.

Just the screen and the suspend/resume, where the CPU turns off between key strokes or user inputs, would take conventional laptops to 12 or 24 hours per battery charge, Microsoft bloatware notwithstanding.

Either way, I'm lining up to buy a OX2 and so are you. Popular Science is right, the Children's Machine XO technology is the Best of What's New.

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off topic: Do you happen to know how to pronounce XO? is it pronounced as two separate leters "ex oh" or "zho" or "cho" or what? or is in unpronouncable, like one of Prince's names was?

I'm guessing "ex oh". I hope its not "cho" - sounds too like the Swahili word for Toilet. In keeping with your Prince observation, how about calling it "the laptop formerly known as 2B1"?

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