Feeds

HP's bendy plastic e-paper display on the way

Ribbony prototype tested

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Bendy plastic displays might actually arrive in a year or two - HP has developed a prototype of a flexible display screen with Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center.

Flexible displays could be pulled out from a PDA-like device to provide a viewing area larger than the device itself. They could also be used as a form of paper, signage, or as displays stretched between supports for a meeting and then rolled away and packed up.

Making them is difficult because the flexible material obviously moves, meaning it deforms, and this makes it excessively difficult to add precisely aligned display components to it and ensure they stay aligned and don't become unstuck.

The HP display is crafted like a tape ribbon but in wider rolls. Roll-based manufacture is cheaper than sheet-by-sheet manufacture. A flexible plastic substrate is the starting point. This is flexible Polyethylene Naphthalate (PEN) from DuPont Teijin Films. HP then layers a thin film transistor array on this using a self-aligning imprint technology (SAIL) method. HP says it produces perfect alignment irrespective of any process-induced distortions in the substrate.

Then E Ink’s Vizplex imaging film is integrated to produce an actively addressed display. This is a bi-stable electrophoretic imaging material and it enables images to persist without applied voltage - it uses reflected light for viewing - and so lowers electricity usage.

The flexible display is monochrome and the same E-Ink material is used in Amazon's Kindle reader as a form of e-paper. In that device it has 4 grey-scales and the screen is basically light grey with darker grey text. It suffers from a lack of contrast compared to desktop, notebook and smartphone display screens. E-Ink does have a Vizplex film with 8 grey-scale levels, but not colour.

Amazon.com Kindle

Amazon's Kindle

An HP statement says: "Mass production of such [flexible] displays can enable production of notebook computers, smart phones and other electronic devices at much lower costs since the display is one of the more costly components."

This is not really true as the HP bendy screen is a four- or eight-greyscale monochrome display lacking in contrast compared to the bright colourful screens we are all used too and few people would buy an HP notebook if it had such a crap screen.

The monochrome flexible display technology is amazing but limited. The holy grail here is a flexible, colour display with notebook screen brightness and resolution. That is still a long, long way off. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Disturbance in the force lets phones detect gestures with Wi-Fi
These are the movement detection devices you're looking for
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?