HP's vision for the future: memristor-based tablets
HP has been notoriously quiet on tablets and smartphones, waiting until the Windows 8 launch later this year. But there are moves behind the scenes to develop memristor-based mobile technologies.Zara Baxter | Monday, May 28 2012
Listen to HP's John Apostolopoulos for even a few minutes, and you get the impression that he has a bold vision for the future.
Ever since HP's discovery of the memristor a couple of years ago, Apostolopoulos, the Director of the Mobile and Immersive Experience Lab at HP Labs, has been finding ways to deliver a vision of the future that incorporates and centers that technology.
Imagine having a flexible, transparent memristor-based tablet with long battery life and the ability to sense and incorporate environmental information into it. Each of those components is something HP is working towards.
Take the Memristor. A memristor has a dynamic raltionship between current and voltage, and can also retain the memory of current and voltage applied previously. In this way, it incorporates elements of both the transistor, and storage such as RAM. It has the potential to replace storage types across all devices, according to HP, and HP Labs is looking into storage architectures that take advantage of the memristor's capabilities.
The first memristor products are in the works: HP has been working with memory manufacturer Hynix to produce them. Apostolopoulos says that the first memristor-containing products will appear in 2014 or 2015.
When it comes to display technology, HP's SAIL technology (self-aligned imprint lithography) is being used to create thin film displays that are lighter, thinner, and most importantly, bendable.
When you combine the memristor and the curves lte transparent displays allowed by SAIL, what you get is a super thin and power-efficient tablet that is transparent.
To that, HP intends to bring environmental sensing and augmented reality from the recent purchase of Autonomy, a company that makes an augmented reali product called Aurasma. It hopes to blend the physical world with augmented worlds in this way.
The uses extend to education as well as business. An example given at HP's Shanghai event earlier this month was of students using a tablet to design a bridge which they could then position virtually onto an existing environment and test for earthquake-resistance and similar.
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