Feeds

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

Ribbony prototype tested

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.