LG Display has demonstrated a prototype of an elastic OLED screen that can stretch from 12-inch to 14-inch diagonal, conforming to the case of the device it is installed on.
How your next smartphone’s screen would be neither foldable nor rollable. Instead of resorting to complicated mechanisms for supporting or rolling the screen, smartphone manufacturers could go straight to the design part, assuming the screen will stretch like a rubber band over the moving parts of the case. For example, in a rollable phone, there would be no need for a hidden compartment for the actual rolling of the screen. Likewise, deformation of foldable screens in the hinge area will be a thing of the past, with new elastic OLED solutions conforming perfectly to the surface on which they are installed.
Expandable screens, or free-form screens as LG Display calls them, can be pulled, bent and twisted. They go a step further than the flexible displays used with currently popular devices like the Galaxy Fold and other Samsung smartphones, which can be folded and bent, but not stretched.
To make the display so resilient, LG Display built the base substrate material from a silicon similar to that used in contact lenses. Also, the pixels based on micro-LED technology are smaller than 40 micrometers, allowing for high resolution. At the same time, to avoid breaking electrical connections, LG engineers have used spring-loaded circuits that can bend and fold.
“Revolutionary expandable display technology offers next-level versatility for different everyday scenarios.” LG Display also notes that the new type of display lends itself to less common usage scenarios, such as applying directly to leather, clothing or furniture items. At the same time, the technology could find applications in various industries, such as fashion, wearables, mobility and gaming accessories.
LG Display is working on the technology as early as 2020, promising to deliver a product suitable for commercial use no later than 2024.