PORTLAND, Ore. -- LG is first out of the gate with a completely flexible large-scale (18-inch) display that can be rolled up for transport into a three-centimeter (1.2-inch) scroll. The transparent display could be unfurled and hung on the wall, laid on a tabletop, or mounted in a conventional frame. Though it is only a demonstration prototype, LG predicted that it will have a 60-inch version with even higher transmittance on the market by 2017.
The 18-inch flexible OLED display can be rolled up for storage or transport.
"LG has demonstrated the ability to produce displays on flexible substrates for some time, working on getting that to commercialization is quite a project," Paul Semenza, president of NPD DisplaySearch, told EE Times. "We will start seeing smaller flexible displays over the next couple of years, such as those in a smart watch, but they will just be flexible one time when put behind a curved glass cover, but to have them flexible in any shape at any time is some time off."
The organic light emitting diode (OLED) display needs no backlight and, being deposited on a transparent substrate, could display schematics and other graphics in mid-air. LG demonstrated its mid-air display in order to prove that it had mastered the basic technologies needed for rollable transparent displays of any size, but there are still significant hurdles to commercialization -- mainly the inability to protect the OLED from moisture and oxygen, both of which destroy the display.
A working 18-inch flexible OLED display can be flexed into
a three-centimeter (1.2-inch) scroll.
"We believe that, by 2020, active OLED revenue could be just over $23 billion, most of which will come from smartwatches and mobile phones that are flexed and fixed," Semenza told us. "And the reason for that is the production challenge. You can encapsulate a curved and fixed display in glass and metal to protect it from the environment, but no backplanes yet exist that are flexible yet reliably prevent damage to OLEDs."