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November 25th, 2004
In the future, the phrase smarty pants might be taken quite literally, referring to trousers embedded with electronic “intelligence” so that they change color, for example, in response to their surroundings.
The timing of this vernacular twist will depend on when plastic “chips” become practical—so cheap and reliable that electronic circuits can be printed not only on clothing but also on paper, billboards and nearly anything else. Unlike today's largely silicon-based technologies, organic (carbon-based) materials are flexible, can be processed at low temperatures and lend themselves to large-area applications, such as wall-sized electronic murals.
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