It might be time to rethink that new floor lamp you're considering. If GE's latest invention (a new form of OLEDs or organic light-emitting diodes) lives up to its claims, incandescent bulbs will start to be a thing of the past as early as 2010. Which is a forward-thinking move on GE's part considering the impending ban on traditional bulbs. In their place, GE's OLEDs boast remarkably versatile proportions. The lights are paper-thin sheets of luminescent plastic that lights just as well as conventional bulbs with more energy efficiency and the ability take any shape.
GE's printer, which is roughly the size of a Mack truck, is currently operating in Upstate New York. It prints out eight-inch wide OLED sheets that consist of two layers of plastic film filled with chemicals and metallic foil. When connected to an electric current, the sheet emits a bluish-white glow.
To some, the OLED's most distinctive feature is its pliability. Flexible enough to wrap around poles, it can conceivably be "printed" in any desirable design. GE has already expressed intentions to create OLED window blinds that initiate when windows are covered as well as OLED wallpaper that produces a diffused light, blanketing an entire room evenly. So convinced of the market value, a recent report predicts that by 2015, the OLED market will top $1.1 billion. Somewhere in New Jersey Edison is rolling in his grave.