Forgotten Voice

Colin Bird
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Tomorrow's World and Electrochromic Displays

On the Ides of March 1985, a small group of us took our prototype electrochromic display to the BBC studios at Wood Lane for the Tomorrow's World programme. The electrochromic project started in 1974 and was closed down later that year, so you might wonder whether the date of our visit was ominous. Even so, for any project to survive for eleven years was unusual, but let's get back to Tomorrow's World ...

Setting up the display for Judith Hahn to present was straightforward from a technical point of view, but accompanied by a certain nervousness. The electrochromic device itself would occasionally develop a pinhole in its insulation layer, resulting in a colourful but ultimately disastrous breakdown. Fortunately, no pinholes occurred during either the setup or the presentation itself, which was broadcast live, hence the nerves. For the entire half hour everyone not involved in presentations was excluded from the studio, confined to another room from which we watched the whole show. There was a great sense of relief when all went well.