Yes, this particular research project is a proof-of-concept, but the market for flexible and curved displays is estimated to grow from $388 million today to $27 billion over the next decade. The flexible display applications listed in the Touch Display Research report for today include Lexar's memory devices using flexible electrophoretic displays from E Ink, flexible LED displays used in Nike+ FuelBand and flexible LED signages used in public venues. The report speculates on all sorts of flexible wearable displays for the future, such as smartwatches that wrap aroung the wrist to provide more surface area.
This article appears to be about a research project and a working prototype - producing a reliable, high volume product that is commercially viable seems a long way off. Could someone enlighten me as to the potential real-world applications that flexible displays will find?
_hm, which optical properties are you talking about? For comsumer applications, the optical properties which need to be there are related to image distortion, blurr, sharpness, color contrast etc. Until we solve these problems in stretchable devices we cannot introduce stretchable or flexible displays but i donot know how much progress has been there already.
I might be wrong but i think glass is used because of the touch screen purpose and not due to limitations of the LED/OLED. But if we can basically provide two most impotant aspect (transparency and conductivity) in stretchable material then we will have undistructable or more durable screen.
@Caleb Kraft "the biggest impact here will be durability"
Brilliant observation! I had not thought of the durability aspect, probably because the researchers did not mention it, but I think you are right. Everybody wants a more durable display, and making one would merely mean using these more durable materials, whereas a display that is intended to be viewed in its stretched state has the engineering hurdles that you and others in this thread have mentioned.
While the idea of a foldable and stretchable screen is neat, I think the biggest impact here will be durability. A flexible screen isn't going to break when you drop it. When your phone flexes, you don't risk a shattered screen.
The unfolding scenario is completely feasible, however making the image adjust to a stretched screen will require some magic.
When you stretch the screen, you're not increasing the resolution, merely distorting the existing pixels (making them longer, or possibly just spreading them out).
While it would be theoretically possible to simply lower the resolution of the image at that point, you would have to drop to the lowest resoltution capable at that moment. Basically, your image would get blurrier the bigger you stretched the screen if you wanted to maintain the initial aspect ratio.