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Create your own custom displays and touchscreens

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Computer scientists from Saarland University have developed a
technique that could virtually enable anyone to print out customized
displays and touchscreens on their own. 

Researcher Jurgen Steimle
presented this approach by printing the display on a regular inkjet
printer. The DIY display is electroluminescent; it emits light under the
action of an electric current. The same effect is used to illuminate
dashboards in vehicles at night. Steimle is head of the research group
“Embodied Interaction” within the Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal
Computing and Interaction.” A regular home printer could be used to
print wafer-thin displays onto paper, so these printed displays might
present custom designed icons or even respond to touch. 
The technique developed is as follows: Users can create a digital
template of the display they are designing, using software like
Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. Making use of one of the two methods the
researchers have been presenting, the template can then simply be
printed out. Both methods can be performed by laymen in minutes. 

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To
cover an entire standard printer page with a display layer costs around
20 Euros, the most expensive part being the special ink that is
required. The method is not limited to paper, so plastics, leather,
ceramics, stone metal or wood could be used as a base for all kinds of
two-dimensional and three-dimensional printed shapes.

“So far, nothing like this has been possible,” said researcher
Simon Olberding. “Displays were produced for the masses, never for one
individual user.” The process, dubbed “PrintScreen” might just be the
beginning of better things to come. 
Lead researcher Jürgen Steimle said,
“And if we now combine our approach with 3D printing, we can print
three-dimensional objects, which are able to display information and
respond to touch as well.” The researchers are presenting their award
winning approach at the computer trade show Cebit in Hanover from March
16th to March 20th.  

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