From WiFi to Bluetooth, mobile technologies have begun to shift where we consume information and entertainment. Touchscreens and voice automation have similarly begun to shift how we interact with it. In the coming years, changing display technologies will likely have a similar effect on where and what we see.
Case in point – this week Sony revealed a new prototype OLED display so flexible it can be rolled and unrolled around a tube no wider than a pencil. We’re not talking a screen that can just bend, this can literally roll and unroll. (Watch the video. More After the jump)
At just 80 microns thick (a human hair is in that range), the can show video at a resolution of 432×240 pixels with a contrast ration near 1000:1. The video displays continuously regardless of whether the screen is flat, bent, or coiled up like a jack in the box.
“Even after 1000 cycles of repeatedly rolling up and stretching the display there was no clear degradation in the display’s ability to reproducing moving images,” Sony said.
If (or when) a variant is eventually commercialized, the concepts will likely influence entirely new paradigms for product design. Imagine the look of a cell phone that doesn’t need a flat surface to house the display? Imagine an in-dash GPS receiver in your car that, likewise, can take any form …fit the car instead of making the car fit the display.
Size and flexibility can change where and how we see video. In the labs today, these advances will see (and maybe shift) markets before the decade is done.