En route to tomorrow

As Jeff Bairstow notes in his column this month, technology predictions are easy to make, but successful new products are much more diffi cult to produce and sell.

Th Sanderson

As Jeff Bairstow notes in his column this month, technology predictions are easy to make, but successful new products are much more diffi cult to produce and sell (see page 136). A case in point is the laser-based television. I’ve seen at least two “proof of principle” demonstrations of laser-based TVs in the past couple of years. And it was only last year that two TV makers indicated they expected to bring laser-based TVs to market by the end of 2007 (see www.laserfocusworld.com/articles/279859)— a goal that now seems unlikely to be reached. Obviously a working technology demo is a very long way from a product for sale at your local TV store. But displays come in many shapes and sizes, and while laser TVs may be struggling along the road to commercialization, the route to market of smaller mobile projection displays has taken some exciting turns—and it looks as if these devices may be at your local mobile-phone store before the end of 2008, based on some of the devices promoted at recent Society for Information Display event in San Diego (see page 67).

And while on the subject of journeys, road builders as far back as ancient Rome placed stone markers or milestones alongside a road to designate distance. The term milestone is now widely used, though usually in a somewhat different context of tracking progress on a “journey” toward some other goal. In the fi eld of atto second physics, we reported a technological milestone last April when physicists in Germany made the fi rst attosecond-scale real-time measurement of the electron tunneling speed. More recently they measured the electron transport in a condensed-matter system. It is the fi rst measurement of its kind in a solid, according to the research team—and another milestone passed in attosecond physics (see page 19 and cover).

Th Sanderson
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Stephen G. Anderson
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