07-04-2009, 11:16 PM
Our window into the digital universe has long been a glowing screen perched on a desk. It's called a computer monitor, and as you stare at it, light is focused into a dime-sized image on the retina at the back of your eyeball. The retina converts the light into signals that percolate into your brain via the optic nerve. Here's a better way to connect with that universe: eliminate that bulky, power-hungry monitor altogether by painting the images themselves directly onto your retina. To do so, use tiny semiconductor lasers or special light-emitting diodes, one each for the three primary colors-red, green, and blue-and scan their light onto the retina, mixing the colors to produce the entire palette of human vision. Short of tapping into the optic nerve, there is no more efficient way to get an image into your brain. More research is going on in the Nomad Expert Technician System. Within five years such systems could be incorporated into mobile phones or handheld computers and appear to the brain as a brightly lit, widescreen TV version of what is on the device. Offshoots of the technology could be put into digital cameras offering the same view finder capabilities of a high quality single lens reflex camera. Photographers would be able to preview a full colour image and make focus control and depth of field adjustments much more easily.