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Flexible Chips Give Us Portable Information Technology

Flexible Chips Give Us Portable Information Technology

Apr 19, 2007
Mary Hobson
Technology Schools Columnist

Information technology gets more and more clever as time goes on. One of the most recent developments that is going to come on the market in the next year is the idea of plastic electronics - chips that are produced on plastic rather than silicon. This new development from technology schools in Europe means that processing power can be put on flexible plastic which will also form the display material. What you end up with is effectively "electronic paper".

Two Companies - One Technology

Two different companies have developed similar information technology products that will be launched later this year. The first is a company called Polymer Vision, a company that came out of Philips Electronics. They are planning to produce a portable flexible reader which will be in the shops at the end of this year.

The second is a company called Plastic Logic, of Cambridge, England. This company is the product of several people from technology schools in Cambridge. Their technology has just been funded by venture capital, and they are concentrating on producing a purely flexible technology that can bridge the gap between light, easy to carry paper and the much heavier but more useful computer.

These two companies are adding to the variety of products that are combining to make information technology a part of our everyday lives. Semiconductors on plastic are not likely to instantly replace traditional silicon chips, but they are likely to be used for applications such as this flexible display, where silicon doesn't have the characteristics necessary to make the application work.

Both of these companies needed to rely on years of research, and of the kind of collaboration between technology schools that usually only works in an academic environment.

Technology School Guides You To Your Goal

You may be a part of this kind of exciting research and collaboration if you are prepared to study for a computer science degree or an information technology degree. This may give you the technical knowledge and skills you may need to study at graduate level, and then to do research into the new and exciting technologies that make up information technology.

You may study your computer science degree or your information technology degree at your local technology school, or you may select a technology school that may offer you a computer science degree online. You may decide to study and work at the same time, in which case studying online may well allow you to do this without having to forfeit your everyday life.

Information technology research can be difficult to find a job in, but good qualifications may be the key to this kind of career. Research that starts as a part of study may become the pathway to your career; you could carry on doing research in your technology school or may go to work with one of the large corporations who finance their own research and development.

Whatever your final career destination, acquiring a computer science degree may be the gateway to a promising career. You may need to talk to your technology school about what your information technology career ambitions are and how you can best fulfill them.


About the Author

Mary Hobson is the Head of IT School at a Polytechnic in New Zealand. She also works as a freelance writer.