FORGET THE IPAD, the HP Slate or pretty much any tablet. For true portable big-screen computing we want the roll-up screen that sci-fi has promised us since forever. That dream edges ever closer, and Sony is now helping it along with a flexible display that can be wrapped around a pencil.
The 4.1-inch OLED screen is thin. So thin that it is measured in micrometers. 80μm to be precise: A human hair is a comparatively hefty 100μm.
Sony’s trick was to make the circuitry itself flexible. By marrying the OLED screen with OTFTs (organic thin-film transistors), and using organic, soft insulators therein, a display can be made that shows movies whilst being rolled and stretched. This is the first display ever that can manage this. But enough of the science talk. You want to see it in action, right? Prepare to be amazed:
Pretty cool, huh? And actually not as far into the future as you might think: The other trick is the manufacturing process. The organic components can be dissolved in common solvents, from which the screens are printed instead of being assembled. This should bring costs down far enough to be used in e-paper or even screen-equipped RFID tags.