Bendable and Rollable displays
The basic notion of flexible screens has in fact existed for several years. In February 2008, an offshoot company of Phillips called Polymer Vision created a prototype eReader called Readius, which had a diagonal rolling screen. It consisted of an electrophoretic front plane over an organic thin film transistor backplane. Though small and light, the product was never officially released for general sale to the public. Since then both LG and Samsung have presented models with similar capacities. Focused practical work on bendable screens is being done at the Flexible Display Centre at Arizona State University under Nicholas Colaneri.
LG Philips demonstrate their bendable e-Paper display.
Bendable and rollable displays in detail
How they work
Constructing the thin film for the display is not where the problem lies when creating such technology. In order to allow the screens to bend, the “substrate,” or the material the liquid crystals are set on, needs to be plastic or thin stainless steel. Thus a whole new mode of flexible ancillary electronics and circuitry must be devised.
When will they be on the market? You may wonder when you can expect to see such products in your local shops-Nicholas Colaneri expects larger screens will be developed before smaller ones given the interest in size compression. However, we can expect to see bendable screens on every day, electronic gadgets, and at similar prices to current products, in the next three to five years (around 2015).
The future of bendable displays
The notion of a bendable screen may also bear out a wealth of new and exciting possibilities. For example, future innovation may allow you to transform an entire wall into a bendable screen, or to construct personalized clothing out of similar material. Whilst the bendable screen alone will not usher in an entirely new computing revolution, it will surely be an exciting and influential contributor.
Speaking of wholly new innovations and designs utilising this technology, Tommaso Gecchelin has designed a new bendable touch screen laptop which will no doubt be released soon. The new screen technology has been dubbed ispine by its creator in a bid to compare the bendability of the product to the flexibility of the human spine. The product, when fully opened, would be approximately the size of a sheet of paper, and would come complete with a stand upon which it could be fully extended, and a full computer built. Gecchelin’s design will no doubt widen the scope of what one can hope to expect from the computing world.
The FENO. One of the newsest and most exciting folding laptop designs.
Fujitsu demonstrate a concept for a folding laptop design below, dubbed the "flexbook" however this technology is still a long way from production at the time of writing (2011).