Flexible Displays- The Overview

Flexible displays are pieces of technology that are going to truly alter our lives when they are fully developed. They are similar to almost anything that you can think of; cameras, televisions, books, magazines, MP3s and maybe even clothing. They store information and the best part about it is that they can be bent, rolled, stretched, dropped, and flexed without breaking. These displays are printed out like paper, which means they are cheap and easy. Flexible displays can be printed onto flexible or stretchable material which could be as thin as a credit card. The thought of this is unreal to me and since it is still in development I will be in awe when I see it come out.

These displays can also be made into different shapes, although most of the pictures I have seen of them they are square or rectangular. However, being that they can be bent and rolled does mean that many other shapes can be made. Right now they are working on getting the displays to be in color and not just black and white. They are also tweaking them to get them to refresh fast enough to show constant moving images. CBS and Entertainment Weekly demonstrated them in 2009, and where the first to do so. According to the Horizon report many more magazines will soon take an interest in the flexible display phenomenon. The creators believe that the first place these will be used is with the army to downsize the amount of things they have to carry around. It would help them with maps and things that would truly benefit them and help keep them safe. Currently the manufactures don’t want the flexible display screens to be more than six inches diagonally, but it is a work in progress. Most likely by the time the flexible displays are fully developed they will be able to be any size.

Flexible displays are often compared to LCD screens. LCD’s are very expense and do not have the advantage of being able to be dropped and bent. They may have color unlike the flexible display, but it also takes more power. Also displays do not require backlighting then use reflecting light and read as if there is a paper in your hand. There are many advantages to having a flexible display instead of a LCD the main one being that once an image is loaded it stays put, and this means it is like printed paper. This can then be done again without using power or constant refreshing like on an LCD.
There are many underlying technologies that are behind the development of flexible displays. One is OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode Technology) which is used by companies like Sony, Samsung, and Phillips. These three companies are mainly using flexible screens to try to get really flat big screen televisions. Household lights are also using OLED to try to get more light with less power, so far it is working out well. Another technology that supports flexible displays is flexible organic memory. I am familiar with this because it is used in cameras and MP3 players. Flash memory holds information in these devices for a long period of time without it needing constant electrical power. Once the flexible flash memory is completely developed it will be a new era for a lot of technologies that store information. When this happens it will also bring new devices to the world and they will most likely be smaller than ever, but so full of information due to the flexible display inside them. Flexible displays could eventually be implemented into everyday tools. They may be used on clothing as a security device. They could even be used as tools, appliances and lots of other things we use on a daily basis.

Flexible displays could easily completely alter the way we learn. The flexible displays are so thin and create their own light source, therefore it could be put almost anywhere. In the horizon report in mentions how it could be used as a business card, or even flash cards to study. These types of advances would bring great advantages to education. Since flexible displays can roll, bend and be very flexible putting them on any surface is do-able. For example let’s say you are a health teacher and you are trying to teach your students about the human body. A flexible display could be placed on a skeleton or robot to help the students see a live display. Also for science class a flexible display could be used to show what the materials look like, or give directions and warning about the lab. There is also a lot of talk about flexible displays being put into textbooks. By inserting these types of displays to books it would allow there to be video, animations and it would literally bring the book to life. I believe that bringing flexible displays into the schools would not only be a great step in education, but a step into a new age of learning. It would allow all the students who may be visual or aural to both get what they need and so on for the other learners.

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Flexible Displays Get Touch Friendly

As the years have pasted we have gotten accustomed to all the new gadgets that technology has to offer. When I was a young girl I remember my parents having a bag cell phone, now all we have are phones that are so small we misplace them all the time. The point I’m getting at is that we are always going to have new gadgets to play with. However, I really believe that a flexible display is one that could really change how we see things in all areas of life. By making a flexible display touch friendly we are opening up the possibilities for cheap, energy efficient, endless learning.

Creating a touch screen flexible display is possible because of E Ink and Epson. E Ink is known for Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s e-reader. By combining the power a flexible display has with the touch screen ability it is going to have it will really ensure that documents will be saved and not broken or lost by being bent or rolled. In order to work the touch screen the user can either touch it or use a stylus pen. The display would only use power when the electronic paper is activated, which again makes it energy efficient and cheaper than an LCD. Once the information is written on the electronic paper it can be saved to the display or it can be send somewhere as well. It acts like a notebook would; you can change the pages and underline things. A company called HP has already started working on this type of display and is manufactured by being on the roll to roll setting. By printing back to back it is very similar to how a newspaper is printed right before it goes to press. This could really me the start of something great. e-ink-flexible-display-400x274.jpg