We tend to leave a radio playing in our kitchen at home and so it was on last evening, January 7, 1999. I tuned to BBC Radio4 around 9 p.m. when a science magazine program was just starting with something like "and now for the All Plastic Radio." As I later found out from the radio listings, this was a new technology series called, "Testbeds," with the first program being called "Plastics for Everything - Including TV Screens."
The point of the program was to investigate just how far current science has gone in producing a totally plastic radio, no wires/metal etc! Hmm interesting I thought, so I stuck with it for the next 20 minutes or so. Glad I did. One of the comments made my ears perk up and my hair stand on end.
The program concentrated on 2 research centres, one in the UK in Cambridge and the other Lucent labs, part of Bell. Both centres are deeply into research of electrically conducting polymers (plastic) and the UK team has produced light emitting polymers in any colour, and this year will be producing a colour display (TV screen) you can roll up, on a plastic sheet.
The polymers' displays are extremely easy to produce. The lab is currently using a converted bubblejet printer to "print" the displays on whatever material they like, this includes the feeder wires which are polymer conducting plastic! NOT A METALLIC WIRE IN SIGHT.
The program moved on to Lucent Labs, where the researchers were fabricating semiconductors and transistor circuits using the same type of conducting polymers, at the moment the experimental circuits are on glass but they could be "printed" as with the UK displays on anything. Lucent also have a rechargeable "plastic battery" constructed from this technology which will shortly be going into Laptop computers AS PART OF THE PLASTIC CASE.
What relay grabbed my attention though was a comment from the reporter as he was examining the "plastic" circuits fabricated a Lucent Labs. He said, as he held up one of the circuits to the light, "Ah...yes I see it..as I hold it up to the light.. it's a sort of purple colour, embossed on the surface."
Now where have I heard that before? Is it a clue as to why there were no wires in the crash debris wreckage at Roswell in 1947 and why the beams had "purple" markings running along them? Just an interesting thought.
Neil Morris, Manchester, UK
RPIT (Roswell Photographic Interpretation Team)