Samsung shows screen that folds seamlessly
Ironed out the creases
Researchers have developed a display that folds in half without a visible crease, paving the way for a range of foldable mobile concepts to become reality.
A team at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in South Korea have built a prototype of the screen, publishing the results of their work in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.
While boffins had previously struggled to eliminate the crease between panels, this study, titled Mechanically and optically reliable folding structure with a hyper-elastic material for seamless foldable displays, appears to have found the solution.
Source: 2011 American Institute of Physics
Made from two AMOLED panels, silicone rubber, a protective glass cover and a module case, the display features a 1mm folding radius, so that the halves can rest on one another at a 180° angle.
After 100,000 fold cycles, the team recorded just a six per cent decrease in screen brightness along the seam - barely recognisable to the human eye, they say.
Talking to PhysOrg.com, co-author HongShik Shim said: “All the materials in a foldable window unit - glasses and silicone rubber - must have almost the same optical properties and attach to each other strongly without any optical property change.”
Despite the hyper-elastic silicone rubber and high-end AMOLED displays being commercially available, to see the product brought to market, new processes and materials would need to be developed. Shim reckons this could take a year or two.
Perhaps it won't be long though before we see designs such as the Nokia Scentsory Concept, spring up on a shop shelf near you. Well, minus the scratch and sniff features, of course. ®
... for them to produce a car that does this.
Wait for it...
Wait for Apple to tell everybody it had a patent on this, amounting to "Gee golly gosh! Wouldn't it be great if you could, like, fold screens. Here's a back-of-the-napkin drawing of what it might take. It was *my* idea, I thought of it first! Sir, they're copying off me!"
Probably not... but it wouldn't be hard to do.
Depending on the tech, of course. Most touch screen tech would be able to sense a finger on the fold, even if there were a gap in the actual sensor(s).
A full touch-screen flip-phone, now that would be fun. Or a 'mini-tablet'. Or for a laptop, a fold-out widescreen display. Or a double-height tablet... complete with touch keyboard, that would be pretty cool, actually. You could read eBooks that look like, well, books! :-D
It would seem to be fairly trivial to add the touch sensor(s) in with the protective glass layer.
RE: At the risk of sounding churlish...
I don't see why not, from the looks of it a pretty much bog standard screen is split in two with a rubbery hinge in the middle, the join being hidden by the two screen halves being very close together when "open".