Sisi ZHU – MM History Paper

Outline for paper01 – Sisi ZHU

Thesis paper01 – Past


Since last semester I started a program “IMBRELLA” ( I realize it is important to learn the history of screen. Thus, in this paper I will focus on kicking something around the transformation of screen displays.

Through comprehending different theories of different screens, I will be able to grasp the advantages and weak points of each kind of screen displays. Meanwhile, by considering what came together to make the touch screen happen, I can go a step further on processing my program. Moreover, via discussing the future of the screen can help me to seek the perspective of my program and what can be pursued in the future.

Past : Origin and evolution of CRT screen displays

Before scientists turned to explore the screen displays, they did various bedding research, which inspired the invention of CRT.

As far back as 1855, Heinrich Geissler, a german skilled glassblower and physicist, by using his mercury pump invented geissler tube. This tube was the first good evacuated (of air) vacuum tube. Three years later, german mathematician and physicist Julius Plücker experiments with the connection of the influence of magnet and cathode rays. The bend shows the so-called invisible cathode rays, and he also found at lower pressure, the Faraday dark space shows bigger with using Geissler tubes. Moreover, H.Sprengel, who is a german chemist, also found the extended grow would be affected by external magnetic field by improved Geissler vacuum pump in 1865.

In 1869, german physicist Johann Wilhelm Hittorf concluded “rays” from the cathode travel in straight line. Two years later, C.F. Varley, an English engineer, is first to publish proposed that cathode rays are composed of particles. Crookes suggestioned that they are molecules that have picked up a negative charge from the cathode and are defended by it. However, Anglo-Irish physicist George Johnstone Stoney did not agree with C.F. Varley. He proposed the name “electrine” for the unit of charge on a hydrogen ion, and changed the name to “electron”.

In 1876, German physicist Eugen Goldstein introduced the term cathode ray can be used to illustrate light emitted. Five years later, German physician and physicist Herman Ludwig von Helmholtz pointed out the conception of smallest unit of electricity. Although in 1883, Heinrich Hertz nominate a paradox that cathode rays cannot be charged particles. And again german physicist Eugen Goldstein concluded radiation that travels in the opposite direction – away from the anode by his observation, which inspired Arthur Schuster to calculate the ratio of charge to mass of the particles making up cathode rays.

By this time, the requisite theories of CRT is basically mature.

In 1890, british physicist J.J.Thomson has already started the experimentation of Cathode Ray Tube. However, Germany physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun is, by common consent, the earliest inventor of the CRT. In 1897, Ferdinand Braun invented the first version of CRT as a cold-cathode diode, which was well known as Braun tube, in an oscilloscope device.

Until 1907, Russian scientist Boris Rosing pushes CRT technology been applied in what is now recognised as television. He achieved to project simple geometric shapes onto the screen. And finally, American electrical engineer and physicist John B. Johnson and Harry Weiner Weinhart of Western Electric Company first make CRT as a hot cathode become a commercial product in 1922.

As a solution to display the results of the programs run on the machine, CRT screen displays experienced a long period of time to process the evolution.

Regardless of approximately every early program machine extently provided hard-copy printout, the earliest version of digital displays were performed by arrays of blinking indicator lights. People can recognise the information through the illustration made by tiny light bulbs that flashed on and off. After the appearance of ENIAC, input and output way turned to be using Hollerith punched cards. With processing encoded program with punched card and decoding the encoded results with IBM 405 tabulator likewise device . Contemporary way of alternating punched cards is long rolls of paper tape punched in a pattern. Until the appearance of the application of CRT. It did not take very long time that someone realized CRT can be not only used for memory, but also can be applied in radar and OSC CRTs. Just like the SAGE system and the PDP-1, CRT display only been project the primitive graphical displays, only with vectors without color, and rarely used for text.

Since this time, the methods of displaying program results successfully changed from only show answer with device to make usage of machine to run the program and show the answer with paper, and finally show the answer synchronously with program on the same device without the second media.

With the improvement of technology, screen displays advanced from teletype monitor to the glass teletype. Later, computer engineers realized they can use CRTs as visual paper in a visual teletype in early 1960s. Video proved far faster and more flexible than paper, although rarely performed in color, eventually text characters(no graphics) can be showed on the screen with the help of the terminals interfaced with computers transmitted code. Until 1980s, even few monitors supported color.

But the teletype is very expensive to common individual, which inspired three people (Don Lancaster, Lee Felsenstein, and Steve Wozniak) moved forwards on the way of seeking cheaper alternatives. They built a terminal device that is not so far out of reach of normal people, by using an inexpensive CCTV video monitor as a display. Afterwards, in 1976, Wozniak and Felsenstein built the Apple I and the Sol-20, respectively, similar terminals into computers, as the first computers with factory video outputs. CRT screen displays indeedly step into the golden development era later, monitors evolved to more complex version, both monochrome and colour. When video outputs capable of using ordinary television sets as computer screen, “RF modulator” boxes for the Apple II raised a new method to let enterprising businessmen see the result on TV sets during manufacturing. Through convert composite video into a signal that occasionally television can recognise,which can be stimulated on over-the air broadcast, can achieve this goal.

CRT theory

CRT theory

By means of the improvment of electronics on the physics, people capable of the theories of CRT screen displays. What is more, the methods of show the consequence of program before either not convenient or excessive expensive. CRT screen displays and the improvement later just borned at the right moment.

Present : Sharply rise of LCD, LED and Plasma displays

Though CRT screen displays accomplished as the pioneer of screen displays, there are various shapes of screen displays faced the world later. Especially the appearance of LCD, LED and plasma displays symbolized screen displays step from green to mature. As time flys to today, we witnessed the slow death of CRT displays and the rise of LCD, LED and plasma displays.

LCD displays technology application was first patented by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph company in 1936. Meanwhile, the first LED was created by Russian Oleg Vladimirovich Losev one year later according to record. Moreover, the plasma displays was principled by a Hungarian engineer Kálmán Tihanyi in 1936. He also conceived the system of the first flat-panel display.

It is by no means accidental. LCD, LED and plasma displays gradually alternating CRT displays is because CRT technology has its limitation. CRT is a vacuum tube, which means the tube requires thick heavy glass to create the vacuum environment, as well as a lot of electricity would be waste. Accordingly, the equipments  established with CRT displays are always big, heavy and the electricity agency would make a fortune in the process. Furthermore, with the technology moving on,  people started to get accustomed to convenient device like radios suited in the pockets. Started from this consideration, the shortage of  CRT displays becoming a mortal issue blocked the movement of CRT technology.

Untill nowadays, CRT becomes more rare in market, however, it is still occupys popular in the “bargain” markets and gaming enthusiasts. CRT technology capable of fastest process and cause less “ghosting” and other blurring effects during projecting fast-paced envirnoments, such as complex games. Simultaneously, plasma displays is, essentially, a cross system of neon lights and colored florescent. Thus, plasma displays are popular with display bigger than 32 inches enthusiasts as they get the widest color range, greatest contrast, and least response time. Meanwhile, LCD and LED are the prime technology used for the TV and computer monitors and also the biggest competitor to PDP technology.

LCD theory

LCD theory

LED theory

LED theory

Plasma theory

Plasma theory

Future : The era of anything is possible

As the world is changing faster and faster, a lot of conceptual production caught opportunities to face the world. Screen displays slowly transferring from limited on the program machine to any other medias around viewer. And in order to response customers’ demand, screen displays keep increasing interactive applications all the time.

For instance, the Google Glass, which known as “wearable interactive computer”, can display information through smartphone-like format to interact with Internet via voice rather than hands control. It is the first time that screen displays commercial products avoid the tranditional shape to convenient people. Also, there are some Belgium researchers at Ghent University achieved to make LCD displays to project text on a contact lens with wireless technology. This amazing discovery provide a wide space to image the future tablets and useful applications to make our life even more easier. However, Just like Holographic 3D Digital Projection, this interactive transmission process can cross the block of time and space, use empty space to project the images from nowhere. The appearance of bionic eyes even pushes the screen displays’ media from external media directly to our brain. The technology seems can take us to a completely unknown world, where “screen” would never be simply used as physical product.

What is more, nowadays there is a new theory of inventing interactive “A Day Made Of Glass”. In the impressive video, we can take a glimse of the shadow of technologies similar with google glass and holographic 3D digital projection. Also, it is hard to avoid bunch of controversial issues waiting to be tackled.

Anyway, just like the conception expressed in the “A Day Made Of Glass“, in the future, maybe special glass or normal glass, or any other kinds of medias all can be used as tools to replace the LCD, LED and plasma displays, do not need to mention CRT displays.

Conclusion :

Screen displays contribute a lot in communication field. We get the answers directly after processed programs, we get entertainment to amuse ourselves, we been satisfied by using convenient applications through screen displays, etc.

But since the technology moving too fast, we feel hectic and also panic to catch up with the speed of the improvement. Sometimes, maybe before we notice the creation of new technology, it has already become old issue.

But it is always good to hear new forms of screen displays to face the world. Everytime the screen displays improve, our life change the original operation way. We need those technology to better our life and gain more experience within this limited lifetime.


+ Outline for paper02 – Sisi ZHU

Thesis paper02 – Present


Since the last 20 years the technique processed faster and faster, the history of screen display steps into an unforeseen era.

The beginning of the research of screen display is about CRT, which started from 1855 and became mature during the later 150 years. In this not short period, because of the shortage of the CRT and other synchronous research of screen display component, the development of screen displays not only moves on the vertical level, but also expands horrendously on the horizontal level. Especially the recent 20 years, the evolution of screen display seems approaching towards the future that only existed in the science fictions.

All the field of our life is changing everyday, art, sports, entertainment, religion, education, etc. Technology slightly embed into everywhere, even without greeting us at first. We get more choice to convenient our life and also get more confusion to make the decision at the same time.

Past : Origin and evolution of CRT screen displays

During the last twenty years, screen display technology has progressed at a very fast rate. Its research history however began in the 19th century with experimentation on the cathode ray tube (CRT). The first experiments were conducted by an English physicist, J.J. Thomson and an early version of the modern CRT was developed in Germany by Ferdinand Braun. His invention is usually referred to as the Braun Tube. In the beginning of the 20th century, experiments by Boris Rosing, a Russian scientist, accomplished to display for the first time, simple geometric shapes onto a screen, and CRT technology developed into what is now known as television. The first truly functional television was produced in Germany in 1934.

CRT is the earliest form of screen displays. The physical theory of CRT is showing different colors through the specific combination of the awakened RGB phosphor powders. Those powders are activated by electrons, which are emitted by a kinescope electron gun. The electrons turn direction in the magnetic field and keep bombarding specific areas of fluorescent screen to light the RGB phosphor powder. Finally, this enables the screen to display different images and information in different color.

Typical CRT Product

Typical CRT Product

The kinescope is the core part of CRT. Mainly, there are two kinds of kinescope. One is to add a shadow mask in front of the surface of the fluorescent paint. This has been widely used for a very long time. The other is aperture-grille kinescope. The first formation of the shadow mask kinescope is a three-beam color picture tube, first seen in 1973. Flat square picture tube with colorful kinescope entered the marketplace in around 1994. Four years later, flat shadow mask color picture tubes were introduced. They are still used today by companies such as Samsung, LG, Brilliance and others. By using shadow mask kinescope, the manufactures can control costs, but the function of showing pictures is not so ideal. On the other hand, Sony importing FD TRINITRON into screen displays area in 1982. This advance in screen technology became the first choice of professional screen displays. Later, Sony transferred this technique to Mitsubishi after much consideration. After, Mitsubishi developed DIAMONDTRON NF technology based on FD TRINITRON, Sony and Mitsubishi eventually held the prime position in high-end CRT displays bringing stability to the marketplace. Now the CRT displays can show images on the screen perfectly.

After all, CRT has many pros and cons. Its displays is good at showing contrast, responding quickly, getting wide color range, presenting color correctly, and can be used for a long time. But CRT screen displays is relatively heavy and bigger in volume. Also, it costs more, uses more energy, and has distortion issues. Moreover, CRT is easily affected by magnetic field, and also might leave shadows on the screen permanently, if used to show the same image all the time. CRT creates an x-ray field which can affect people nearby. It can cause myopia if someone stares at the screen for a long time. It also contains lead, which pollutes the environment.

Present : Sharply rise of LCD, LED and Plasma displays

There is no doubt that CRT is the pioneer of screen displays. But today, it is not the mainstream technology used. Some new technology especially those such as LCD, LED and Plasma displays have slowly taken over CRT and are now the forerunners of the screen display industry.

In 1936, LCD display technology applications were first patented by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company. Basically, LCD is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display which uses the light modifying properties of liquid crystals. Meanwhile, LED is a semiconductor light source. There is no big difference between LCD and LED. They just have different back lamp, CCFL and LED, which makes LED a little better than LCD. They have the advantage of projecting images brightly and clearly; they use less energy and produce less heat. Also, they save a lot of space because they are flat. This allows the size of screen to be relatively bigger.

Typical LCD Product

Typical LCD Product

Typical LED Priduct

Typical LED Priduct

Plasma displays (PDP) technology utilizes small cells containing electrically charged ionized gases, or fluorescent lamps. It is the leading screen display on the market. Mainly, plasma displays would be used for showing 3D television program, incredible movies and games. PDP is the best television media for 3D videos. It can run pictures smoothly while graphics card are processed at a fast rate.

Typical important Plasma Product

Typical important Plasma Product

The scope of the history of screen displays is growing all the time. We can map its progress and look at the changes through different angles.

At first, CRT technology led machine to big and heavy objects with small screens. People could not watch the images on the screen from a far distance. Later, because of nanotechnology and the development of LCD, LED and plasma displays, screen became bigger. Yet the body  become smaller. Eventually, we could watch videos on a screen that was placed far away. Early screens needed a big body to contain the tubes it required. Now, the body of the machine can be optional and controlled by the usage, a more convenient product.

On the other hand, the consumer is not choosing technology any more, the item chooses them. About 15 years ago, our phone did not have screens and televisions were always clumsy. As a media to project information, screens progressed to displaying shapes, text, images, and colorful images. The only thing we need to decide is what kind of product we need. Now, we have different choices of technological equipment and it is up to the consumer to decide what kind of product they want. Sometimes, even one screen can be divided more than 4 categories. If we cannot always be in front of desk, there are various choices of portable objects. We do not need to think which one suits us, the manufacture, those who are under harsh competition, have already classified product for us. They know better than us which screen is suitable for game players and which one can satisfy office workers. We only need to find out what kinds of service we prefer, and then the product provides the functions we need.

In the evolution of screen displays, LCD, LED and Plasma displays are slowly replacing CRT and have captured the mainstream market. Recently, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) shows an advancement in the product created by Sony and Samsung. In OLED, the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compound, which emits light in response to an electric current.

new OLED

new OLED

Only a couple months ago, Samsung and Sony both brought some kinds of flexible OLED phone to the market, which were equipped with curved screen or other functions. Also some other functional screens cannot be destroyed; they are foldable, clamshell-shaped, and even transparent. They are all based on the active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) material, and made in Japan. This is an indication at our tomorrow. In order to make our future more convenient and comfortable, manufacturer will find ways to chase the dreams of the consumer.  Products may seem to be science fiction or another reality. We are in the era of “nothing is impossible.”

Future : The era of anything is possible

With the wheel of the technology rolling faster and faster, we are facing more and more choices everyday. Sometimes, even before we get attach with the so-called new technology, which just been developed couple months ago, some other more advanced product might already been showed in the shop window. Just like one of my friends said, maybe our fate is just living for widening our horizon.

In 2012, I just heard of some researchers at Ghent university in Belgium can deliver text messages to the spherical, small circle of a contact lens. Now Samsung company has already figured out how to make a foldable, bendable AMOLED screen.

Also in 2011, the scientists approached bionic eyes, which directly use our brain as screen displays. There are a lot of ways to comfort and cheat our feelings, the media of screen displays would never limited by specific materials we are using today.

Just like Holographic 3D Digital Projection, this interactive transmission process can ignore the block of time and space, use empty space to project the images from nowhere. By using nanotechnology, the distance between us and screen displays from nearby to far away. And in order to convenient our life, we start to zoom in the distance. Now we can even be a part of the screen displays, just like a scene in the “Minority Report”: the 3D video of Tom Cruise’s son and wife. Just like 19th century, the industry revolution, scientists created the machines rely on fantasy. It is good that the manufacture based on the images in the science fictions to achieve our dream and also satisfy their benefits. Good ending, everyone is happy. It is fascinating to notice that we are not only image for the future, we are living in the future.

future media overview

future media overview

By now, I have confidence that the conception in the “One Day Made Of Glass” would not be a simple dream. Not to mention glass, any kind of media formation can replace plasma, LED, LCD, or all kinds of new screen displays we know today.

Conclusion :

Everything in our history is in a circle. Screen displays experienced from none sense to a part of our life. However, I think there would be a day, screen could mean nothing again.

As a media of showing information, the material of screen evolved from cloth to CRT, LCD, LED, Plasma, OLED, etc. Every time it evolves, our life changes. It is really hard to forecast what can be happen tomorrow. But I am sure that there is going to have something new to meet in the future.

Thesis paper03 – Future

Abstract :

People are always seeking for a way to project the ideas in their mind. The method can let interested persons get connected with them immediately. Even if those men might separate from them for a long distance.

In the past 100 years, the humans experienced the age of uncomprehending to this golden period of anything is possible.

Past: Origin and evolution of CRT displays

Since the war ceased, the pioneers in scientific field turned to perfect the scheme of showing and organizing information.

From wet photograph to dry photograph, people approached the dream of showing replica with distant receiving end. With the appearance of the television, this distant communication changed in a visual style. It is an amazing format that provides audio and moving pictures at the same time. But television gets its limitation, the speed of processing images on the screen.

With the theory of CRT turns mature approximately at 1883, the appearance of CRT product still has a long way to go. 14 years later, Germany physicist Ferdinand Braun invented the first version of CRT. Around 20th century, CRT television faced the world. It is the earliest format of the screen displays. The advantage of CRT displays is obvious as high contrast speedy display, wide color range, not to mention accurate and tough user experience. Meanwhile, the flaw is apparent additionally. Because the kinescope electron gun is a part of the CRT screen, the screen doomed with big bulk and considerable weight. It costs more energy, though still displays with twisted images occasionally. People nearby would be easily affected by radiation and got myopia. Moreover, if CRT monitor keeps affecting by magnetic field, it might show some color patches on the moving images. It can cause permanent shadows after displaying the same frames for long time. And the worst part is CRT screen contains lead, which would pollute our environment.

The biggest fans of CRT screen displays are Samsung, LG and Sony. Some companies like Samsung and LG hold the low-to-middle level CRT screen displays market. Contemporarily, Sony and Mitsubishi conquered the high-end marketplace with their strategies on FD TRINITRON technology.

With improvement and modification, the CRT screen displays nowadays can show images on the screens perfectly, though the volume of the machine still looks bigger than the similar product such as LCD, LED and plasma displays.

Present: Sharply rise of  LCD, LED and plasma displays 

In the past 20 years, we witnessed the incredible imagination of the developers in screen displays field.

The CRT displays slowly fade out of our normal life, instead LCD, LED and plasma displays sharply rise as common solutions of our monitors.

The first patent of LCD display technology belongs to Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company at 1936. However, the patents of global GaN LED migrate between some international corporations like Nichia, Osram Opto, Toyoda Gosei and Cree, etc.

As mainstream monitors, LCD and LED are always been compared together. LCD displays contains TFT, UFB, TFD, STN. Those liquid crystal displays project images with high brightness, contrast and speed. And TFT can approach the function to make images viewable even under the sunshine. Consider the prices of normal screen displays, LCD counts ideal targets for consumers to get. Yet against LED, LCD still shows a lot of limitations. LED screen displays save more energy than LCD and performs better in response rate. What is more, LED screens offer wider horizon, which can process the signals of television, video, VCD, DVD, etc. Nevertheless, the strongest part of LED displays is the response speed of each element is 1000 times of LCD displays, so that we can watch content on the LED even under the very strong ray of light or forty degrees centigrade below zero.

LED(left) and LCD(right)

LED(left) and LCD(right)

Equally, when we turn to plasma displays, the competitiveness of plasma displays cannot be ignored as well. It is the best way to show the administrative levels, which leads it to be the best 3D television media. Not to mention plasma displays can make the pictures running smooth, which convenient the projection of game and blockbuster.

With the technology moving on, it is harder and harder to satisfy the customers. The requirement of customers and the inspiration from science fictions pushes the industry of LCD, LED and plasma displays reforming all the time. As a transformation of LED, OLED faced the market under this changeable situation. There is no doubt that our life gets more fun and efficiency. Though those developments increase our choices and confusions of which one is the most suit one for our specific demands. As usual, the manufactures would solve these problems before us in order to sell their product in a professional way.

Future: The era of anything is possible

The screen can be considered in a narrow way, that simply as an output port of the monitor. But it also can be defined as generalized ways, which are the any kinds of media that can show the result of the program.

For me, I always think the very first version of screen displays scheme is our brains and eyes. With the evolving of communication, it is necessary to get the second media to project our thoughts. In this way, the people even from far away can also get our stories. And also by this method, our culture can be inherited better.

According to what I say, in generalized way, the screen displays experienced from nothing to various versions of second media. In the narrow way, screen displays evolve from CRT to LCD, LED and plasma displays. The distance between screens and viewers from short to long, up to these days, short again. The dominant right changes from screens to the body of the machine. Everything this industry did is to satisfy the picky customers and compete with the same trades. We are truly step into an era of anything is possible.

During we are happy with LCD, LED and plasma displays, there is a special way of projection appeared. With no secondary media and viewers can join in the scenes in the projection, holographic 3D digital projection seems to be a perfect way to release screens from the limitation of the main machine bodies.

holographic 3D

3D Holographic digital Projection and visual reality

It is a new technology that can project scenes in both 2D and 3D way. There is no need to use media during process, can we can even interact with the elements in the projection scenes. Just like fictitious singers and visual crosswalk walk, this technology has already been used in multiply ways.

By using this technology, we are facing both excited and worried future. Leave the unemployment issue of the transmission from old to new industries aside. Our new problem is how to tell the truth and unreality. In the past 10 years, since the game industries create some visual reality equipment to entertain the vast game players. There are some cases show that some people addicted into the game world to start the second life. They forgot to eat and communicate with their families, and their life completely damaged. Their whole glories are in that helmet or glasses, which is only some imagination in their mind. In a word, new technology is so terrible for those weak people to find themselves in the real world. Furthermore, how to defense defraud and criminality with this technology becomes another question needs to solve. The spy cameras can be easily cheated even we add infrared analyzers with them. In another side, display media also prettify the effect ion of the product. How can customers trust the product in the visual reality versions? However, this technology does can provide us very actually convenience. Many manufactures faced the problems of protecting the new product in the exhibition. With holographic 3D digital projection, they do not need to risk losing or damaging their product, and save the fee of transportation at the same time. The customers can view the details of the product without the bother from security guards. The best part is that customers can see the product in the real size, which can avoid the confusion of customers watching product in pictures version.

After all, our brain is like a trick Christmas tree. The beauty to survive in this world is in order to find some new presents to make it happy. By using screen displays nowadays, the screen is a clue to let us tell the difference between reality and unreality. But when the screen steps into an era of non-entity, we should be brave and pleased to face the unknown world. It is evidence that we are moving on, even though the scheme we relied on might be completely changed in the future.


I still think our culture in in a circle. Our life would always change with some awesome developments faced the world. Holographic 3D digital projection is a sign of our future. It means some extremely cool scenes in the science fiction movies are going to happen, we are always living in the future.


+ Main search

+And so on


+ LCD, LED and Plasma displays (LCD vs LED vs Plasma)

+ The era of anything is possible

+ Videos (MIT) (bionic eyes) (Holographic 3D Digital Projection) (first LCD collection) (Samsung flexible screen)

Sisi Zhu – Resume-final

Sisi ZHU – Resume final(05-01)


One comment

  1. Patrick · March 18, 2013


    You are going in the right direction and I can’t wait to hear what is next. Now we need to focus on what can be done not just what is being done. What new ways of using a screen are available? What can a new screen environment do today? How does it change our world? Need to look towards the future of many forms of usage.

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